YOUR May peace mail from Zimbabwe
My name is Nyevero and I am a farmer in the Masvingo region of Zimbabwe.
My life used to be very difficult. During the drought, we received very little rainfall and all my crops permanently wilted so I had virtually no food to feed my family.
Joel Pratley/Act for Peace
At times I would give the little food I had to my children and I would sleep on an empty stomach, but my children were still in poor health and I feared for their lives.
My children stopped going to school regularly as they were too hungry. At times I wished I was dead because I saw myself as worthless to my children. But, my life changed when I joined the conservation farming program.
Conservation farming has proven to be the greatest program! It is easier and more efficient than conventional farming which requires the use of the ox-drawn plough. I learnt to plant on a very small piece of land and dig planting stations which help to retain moisture in the soil. In comparison, conventional farming is done on a very big piece of land and it requires laborious work but with little return.
We now get a good harvest from my conservation farming plot but my neighbours who do conventional farming get very little. So, I come and teach them and show them my notes. I feel very happy because now I can teach others the skills I have learnt.
As well as conservation farming, I was also trained in fish farming. There are 29 of us in the project and we all work together. When we started, we were given fingerlings and taught how to feed the fish, as well as how to manage the fishery project.
Today, the project is helping our community so much. Along with providing extra nutrition for our families, we use the additional income from selling the fish to send our children to school.
To the people of Australia, thank you so much. The health of my family has improved a lot and now my children even have food to take to school. I used to pray that my way of life would improve but now I always thank God because he has given me wisdom and strength.
Maita basa (thank you),
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Zimbabwe was once called the “bread basket” of Africa. Today, it is one of the poorest countries in the world as the impacts of drought take their toll. As of January 2020, an estimated 5.5 million people in rural areas are food insecure, the highest number on record.
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, Act for Peace’s local partners, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and 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.
A COVID-19 update from the field:
Friends, as of April 19, 2020 Zimbabwe has recorded 25 cases of Coronavirus and three deaths. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) is working ecumenically to respond to the crisis through raising awareness with churches and the general public on the virus and distributing soap and clean water to communities who need it.
I feel very uncertain of what the future holds, especially with the existing challenges that the people of my country already face. It’s not an easy situation because this is a matter of life and death.
I only hope and pray that we will overcome this; with God, all things are possible.
Maria Tendai Dendere
Programmes Manager – Zimbabwe Council of Churches
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