The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) estimates that over 1.6 million people will be food insecure between January and March 2013, the peak hunger months in Zimbabwe. This is a 60 percent increase from the one million people who needed assistance at the beginning of this year.
This year most of my seeds didn’t grow – drowned by the torrential rain and then baked during the one exceptionally hot week (and I was only away for 2 days!)
To me it didn’t really matter I could buy vegetables elsewhere and having a lush green garden rather than flowers has been different but equally beautiful.
For some farmers in Zimbabwe getting the right seeds can be the difference between having enough food and families facing hunger.
In Matabeleland Zimbabwe farmers had used up, during the years of drought, their local seed reserves and no longer had the expertise needed for successful seed multiplication. They were forced to buy hybrid seeds – not ideally suited for local conditions, expensive and only available through agricultural dealers whose business premises were far away.
Getting seeds to grow crops was a huge problem one that was reducing harvests and thus food.
Practical Action worked with the farmers and Matabeleland South Province to Matopos Research Institute so as to make sure there was enough seed available at the right time so that farmers had control over their cropping season and were able to plant quickly when the rains started. We also worked building seed banks made up of open pollinated varieties which can be replicated locally.
As a result
• Famers now have access to seeds when they need them and are able to benefit fully from the cropping season by early planting
• Seed prices are cheaper
• There’s a new way for people to earn a living – through appropriate seed multiplication – most seed multipliers are women!
• 3000 smaller holder farmers have improved their seed security, and as a result have greater self-reliance.
Practical action in Zimbabwe.
The world is in the grip of multiple crises – financial, political, food and energy systems, and faces the threat of climate change with no agreement to limit warming likely. It can seem that change is impossible. In the face of these huge crisis I wanted to share this story of small change – but then we believe in Small is Beautiful and the power of millions of small actions to leverage big results.