YOUR February peace mail from Zimbabwe
My name is Oxwell and I am the Program Manager for the Conservation Farming Program in Zimbabwe. I have been part of this project since 2009 and I work with local communities to train farmers in conservation farming.
Joel Pratley/Act for Peace
The frequency of drought has increased in Zimbabwe over the years and I often see rivers that are drying up and crops no longer growing.
This is why conservation farming is very important. It is an innovative method of farming, which conserves natural resources instead of using conventional farming techniques. In conventional farming, animals are used to till the lands and fertilisers are bought. This is very expensive and also degrades the land leading to a significant loss of productivity. Many people then become reliant on food aid and frequently still don’t have enough to feed their families.
With conservation farming, we use organic manure and natural mulch to conserve moisture. We also use the mulch to suppress the weeds. It’s much more cost effective and produces more food.
When I teach people conservation farming I see a lot of positive changes, particularly for women. In Zimbabwe, women traditionally care for children and look after the household.
They are often responsible for all the household tasks and working the land to get the crops to feed the family, along with other community duties. It’s quite a big burden on them.
Through the Conservation Farming Program, women are encouraged to take on leadership roles in their communities, including the conservation farming committees. And, through the training we’ve also seen tremendous changes. With the increased income they can send their children to school, buy supplementary food and clothes for their families, and even grow their businesses by buying other livestock.
As well as conservation farming, we’re now training people in other areas such as beekeeping or fish farming to help farmers diversify their income and become more resilient.
What motivates me to do my work is seeing the changes in the lives of the farmers we work with. We have seen people who are food insecure becoming more food secure and improving their living standards. This encourages me so much and makes me feel that I am making a contribution to the development of my community.
To the people back in Australia, thank you so much for the contribution that you are making. It is very huge, because we are seeing households that are very poor becoming more developed and improved. You are making such a big contribution to the communities in Zimbabwe.
Tinotenda! (Thank you)
Download this Peace Mail in pdf
Due to poor rains, high food prices and a new lockdown brought on by COVID-19, families in Zimbabwe are finding it even harder to feed their families. Sadly, the number of people there considered to be food insecure is expected to rise from 27% to 35% from January to March in 2021.
For years, farmers in Zimbabwe have been using conventional farming practices which require the use of an ox, plough and chemical fertilisers. With the crippling drought and changing patterns of rainfall, this old, backbreaking method is becoming far less effective. Conservation farming is an innovative method which conserves the resources, causes minimal disturbance of the soil, uses natural fertilisers and most importantly, ensures farmers produce enough food to feed their families.
With your support, people like Oxwell from Act for Peace’s local partner Christian Care, are not only training farmers in conservation farming but also in fish farming, rearing goats and beekeeping; equipping them with the skills, tools and training they need to thrive.
Your support is making a difference!
$46 can provide a farmer in Zimbabwe with a farmer’s starter kit that contains everything a farmer needs to start planting and producing their own food. Each kit includes a variety of small grain seed packs. Along with the seeds, a farmer will also receive all the training and knowledge they need to turn these seeds into a sustainable source of food.
• For unity and reconciliation in a country suffering from deep division and social fragmentation.
• That people have resilience and strength in the face of humanitarian crisis, being it man-made or natural disasters.
• For continued support and resources for Act for Peace’s partners, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and Christian Care and their important mission in the nation.
More ways to take action
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