We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. For more information about how we use cookies visit our privacy policy at www.actforpeace.org.au/privacy

Thank you for planting the seeds of change

Joyce is a pioneering farmer from Zimbabwe. Along with many others in her community, she has felt the terrible effects of climate change, drought, rising food prices and political instability. Joyce was one of the first people in her district to learn an innovative new way of farming called Conservation Farming. She can now harvest enough crops to feed her family and earn a living, even when the rains fail. With your support, this strong and independent woman has learned to overcome huge obstacles and provide a secure supply of food for her family.

Richard Wainwright/Act for Peace Image Frame
Farmers from Joyce’s district have been working their land for generations. They’re rightly proud of their knowledge of rainfall patterns and cycles of planting and harvesting. But in the last few years, everything has changed. Climate change has wreaked havoc on the weather, making it harder for farmers like Joyce to plant crops at the right time and to have enough water for them to grow properly.

When the rains fail in the district, the consequences for farming families are disastrous. They rely on the crops they grow to feed their families and they need to sell their surplus at market to pay for necessities like school books, or medicine when someone in their family falls sick.

Devastating food shortages and extreme hunger are what follow most failed crop harvests. Without enough food to get them to the next harvest, desperate farmers are forced to sell their precious cows and goats for low prices. Some even resort to borrowing from unscrupulous moneylenders, leaving the family struggling with debt for years to come. Children have to give up going to school, instead walking miles each day in the baking sun to search for tufts of grass for their starving animals. 

Joyce remembers the bad times only too well. “When we were farming the usual way, we’d plant our seeds and they wouldn’t do well. We had to repeat the process over and over, and still they wouldn’t germinate. We used to overwork our livestock as well. There wasn’t enough food for the cattle but we still had to use them to plough.” 

Thanks to supporters like you, our local partner Christian Care has taught Joyce a new way of growing crops, much better suited to the cycle of drought and low rainfall that Zimbabwe is now experiencing. These techniques, called Conservation Farming are simple but revolutionary. By digging individual pits for each corn plant, for example, Joyce can make the most of the little rain that falls. She’s also learned how to cover the ground with mulch made from old stalks of corn to keep the water from evaporating. 

These days, Joyce is proud of how self-sufficient she is, and how much she’s achieved through her own hard work and use of the new techniques she’s been taught. Thanks to your gifts, the yields she gets from her fields have gone up, and she can now send her children to school. She’s even able to sell some extra crops and put money aside for the future. “Before, I never managed to buy anything. But now with Conservation Farming I have managed to buy a security fence for my plot” she says. “I feel like a well-established farmer” says Joyce, beaming. “Thank you to the people in Australia for helping teach us this method of farming. Since it’s come to our area, it’s reduced poverty and suffering.”

 

Thank you so much for your support!

Thanks to the amazing response to our Zimbabwe appeal, Act for Peace supporters like you have raised more than
$94,000 to train farmers in the new farming techniques.

Your gifts are changing the lives of farmers in their very first year of Conservation Farming, helping them double the average amount of crops they grow, ensuring their families have enough to eat until the next season, and in most cases, giving them excess produce to sell.

More ways to take action

Help keep families at risk from landslides safe by providing training in disaster risk reduction in schools. Training helps children to identify risks and warning signs of landslides, and teaches them how to keep safe if one happens.

Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge and eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee during Refugee Week (19-26 June 2016). Raise money to support refugees who have lost everything, and challenge perspectives – including your own.

Right now, thousands of innocent people are fleeing Syria every day to protect their families from bloodshed, violence and death. We need your support to provide emergency relief packs to the families fleeing in Syria.