Livelihoods and food security for farmers:

Harvesting Good Health

In Zimbabwe a clever combination of finance, innovative agriculture and smarter seed choices is helping families increase production, and improve health.

 

 

 

Active Project

The Challenge

70% of Zimbabwe’s population are smallholder farmers. But traditional crops are failing to cope with climate change, leaving farmers struggling and their families malnourished.

  • Increasing droughts cause more crops to fail, leaving farmers with less to sell.
  • Most smallholder farmers focus on growing one type of vegetable. So their diets are unvaried and lack nutrition.
  • Many families don’t understand the full effects a limited diet has on their children, with malnutrition and stunted growth becoming a big problem throughout the country.
  • With no knowledge of local markets, or how to negotiate costs with potential buyers, farmers are often short changed.

The Ingenious Solution

We worked closely with farmers and local caregivers to share their knowledge, introduce healthier farming methods, tackle inequality in the home and learn business skills. Improving family incomes and the health of the whole community.

  • Mothers with healthy children are being trained to share their knowledge and raise awareness of the importance of a varied diet with other local women.
  • The Healthy Harvest Programme is training farmers in better food preparation, production and preservation. Encouraging them to plant a wide variety of crops, to make sure nutritious foods are available all year.
  • A focus on agroecological techniques are helping farmers to adapt to the changing climate.
  • Food fairs, run by the farmers are a practical way to share knowledge and cooking tips for locally produced crops. Removing the need to import expensive foods from elsewhere.
  • Equality is being tackled through mixed training groups. Where both men and women learn about keeping small livestock, repair farming equipment, and cook nutritious meals.
  • Collectives have been established to allow smallholder farmers to exploit economies of scale. With improved links to markets and buyers, they will also be able to sell crops for a bigger profit.
  • More than 1000 local saving and lending groups have been set up to help farmers finance their investments. Improving technology, seeds and tools to help them diversify and grow their business.

“We used to be short-changed every time we negotiated with private companies, but now because of the training we received on financial literacy, we are able to make better business arrangements that leave us empowered and able to deliver and grow our enterprise to another level.”  

Choice Murinda, Chairperson Tayambuka farmers group Zimbabwe

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