Doubling food production in Zimbabwe

PLANTING FOR PROGRESS

Active Project

The Challenge

Families with small farms in parts of Zimbabwe struggle to produce enough food to feed themselves properly. Almost a third of households in the country are food insecure and during drought periods many have had to rely on food aid.

  • Limited access to good soil and to efficient ways of storing and distributing water hinder crop development.
  • Inefficient farming methods mean that the soil is damaged and less able to produce a bountiful crop.
  • Farmers struggle to get quality seeds and are hampered by unhelpful government practices and poor institutional structures.
  • The country’s unpredictable economy means that making a living through farming is a constant struggle.
  • A high volume of produce ends up being spoiled by pests and droughts post-harvest because it’s not stored properly.

“It hurts me as a mother not being able to feed my family. I can’t sleep at night – I’m always thinking about how I can provide for my family.”

Thulani – Farmer, Bulilima, Zimbabwe

The Ingenious Solution

A clever combination of knowledge transfer, skills training, solar-powered irrigation and improved seeds is helping farmers in Zimbabwe to double their food production and increase their income. With your support and our experience and expertise, farmers in the Gwanda and Bulilima districts of Zimbabwe will be able to double their harvests. It’s all down to a holistic solution that includes sunshine, seeds and knowledge sharing.

  • Solar-powered irrigation systems conserve rain collected during the rainy season and increase the amount of water getting to the crops. This helps the crops to grow better and more quickly.
  • We’re re-introducing traditional seed varieties that are ideally suited to the local environment. Choosing seeds that are drought and pest resistant will make a good yield more likely even in drought years.
  • Farmers are learning basic record-keeping and business skills, and we’re training them on how to work together as groups to pool their produce and sell it to buyers more profitably.
  • Better storage solutions and training on how to use and maintain them are keeping produce fresher for longer.
  • We’re supporting households and local leadership to help them understand and combat behaviours that discriminate against women and hinder their progress.
  • Farmers are being trained in ways of growing food that protect and conserve natural resources, particularly soil quality.
  • In order to spread the knowledge gained during the campaign even further, farmers will be encouraged to train others, sharing the skills they’ve learned.

“I now make my own money. I used to rely on my husband but now I can afford to take care of the family on my own.”

Betty – Farmer, Bulilima, Zimbabwe

Our ingenious approach combines different solutions that act together to bring about an enormous and lasting change.

All public donations were matched pound for pound by the UK Government.

Donations from the UK public supported Practical Action’s work with communities around the world.

Donations matched by the UK Government were used to help families in Zimbabwe.

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