Supporting farmers on the frontline of climate change

30 July 2019

Topics: "climate change" farming

In Zimbabwe, farmers are being pushed to the brink.  Climate chaos such as drought, flooding and the recent Cyclone Idai are wreaking havoc on their livelihoods, and their lives. Your support is helping to build the resilience of farmers through an innovative program called Conservation Farming, equipping them with the skills, tools and training they need to thrive.

Priscilla with her harvest which she grew using new techniques she learned through the Conservation Farming program. Joel Pratley/Act for Peace

Priscilla is one farmer whose life has been transformed by the knowledge and skills she learned through Conservation Farming.

Before joining the program, Priscilla wasn’t able to grow enough to feed her family and survived by begging for food.

We could spend the whole day without any food.  Then we would have one meal in the evening, when we would share the very little we had.  We would each get a spoonful of porridge.  It was difficult to send my children to school.
But five years later, Priscilla and her family are thriving.

As well as growing enough food to feed her family, Priscilla also champions the nutritional garden in her community and shares her new farming knowledge among friends and neighbours.

She also rears livestock including chickens, turkeys and goats which provide an invaluable source of food and income.
I teach many people in my community what I have learnt through conservation farming. I do it so that people get the assistance that I got so that everyone benefits.

There are just over 50 people who participate in the nutritional garden in Priscilla’s community, where they grow a variety of vegetables like cabbage, carrots, onion, beans, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Joel Pratley/Act for Peace

Priscilla always possessed the strength, determination and grit that it takes to be a farmer.  But she lacked the knowledge of how to farm in a way that would yield a harvest in Zimbabwe’s extreme climate.

I am very proud because now I can look after my family. My message to the people in Australia is that I really thank them for their support. May they continue to support us, so that we get more knowledge through the training workshops.
This innovative method of farming is truly life changing. It increases crop yields for farmers, reduces their dependency on food-aid and gives them a better chance in the face of climate-related disasters, like Cyclone Idai, which are expected to increase in both frequency and intensity in the years to come.

Hope, 13, eats a bowl of sadza, a type of thickened porridge made from grain common in Zimbabwe. Since joining the Conservation Farming program, Hope’s mum Priscilla is able to provide enough food to feed her children and earn an income so they can go to school. Joel Pratley/Act for Peace