From drought to farming prosperity in Zimbabwe
This month read about the great work being done in Zimbabwe with rural communities. Through your generous monthly gift, conservation farming practices are being taught to family so they can provide for themselves and nurture the land the live on.
Mrs Marasha has learned farming skills to support her family
My name is Mrs Marasha and I live with my husband and eight children in Mafunya Village in Zimbabwe. Until only a few years ago I had no income and was always worried about having enough food for my family. It is hard to find work where I live and travelling to larger towns for a job is very difficult.
Two years ago, I had seen some neighbours being trained by Act for Peace’s partner, Christian Care, to farm their land. At first, I thought that it was not possible to have a farm in Zimbabwe as we suffer from droughts. In fact, we have had seven droughts since 2001. I told Christian Care that I want to know more and they explained that to start I only need a small piece of land - about 30 by 50 metres.
The teachers explained where to dig holes for seeds and, at first, it looked like something really hard to do, but with the help of the teachers, it was easy to understand.
“My family is very happy and proud of our achievement.”
The most important thing I have learned to do is mulching. I only have eight rows on my land but mulching makes them very good. Our soil was very dry at first but mulching means that there is now plenty of moisture. Christian Care taught me that this helps the fertility of the soil so I don’t need to use strong chemicals to produce a crop.
I have become a conservation farmer and I now have my entire family helping on the farm. My children come home after school and everyone in the family completes farm tasks for two hours. In that time we can get all the work done! My family is very happy and proud of our achievement. This year is my second year of having a farm plot and I can say – “we did this ourselves.”
“I am a businesswoman!”
The other great result is that for the first time, this year, we have enough food to support my family. Our neighbours have seen our farm and now they are being trained so they, too, can have enough. For next year I want to be able to sell my crop and seeds in my village. My husband works on the farm with me and this will be a good source of income for my family and children. Let me tell you, because of this project, I am a business woman!
- Mrs Marasha
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Masvingo Province is one of the most drought prone provinces in southern Zimbabwe. Unpredictable rainfall patterns and unsustainable agricultural practices have seen many farmers reliant on food handouts to supplement reduced crop harvests. A likely El Nino weather phenomenon later this year could result in reduced rainfall and a delay to the start of the agricultural season, which will negatively affect food security.
With your generous support, Act for Peace works alongside Christian Care in Zimbabwe to provide agricultural training to improve food security for small scale farmers. This helps address threats from drought, a troubled economy and political challenges, all of which have adverse effects on the agriculture sector.
The conservation farming program works with smallholder cereal crop farmers to improve farming techniques including planting, fertilising, mulching and fencing. This approach enhances soil fertility and the capacity to grow healthy crops. The program also focuses on mentoring so that farmers have the confidence and ability to work together to increase their crop yields and strengthen household food security.
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