Until the turn of the millennium, Zimbabwe produced excess grain, fruits, cereals and other agricultural goods that supplied international markets. However, climate change and political instability were factors that brought the economic breadbasket of Africa to a halt, bringing a drop in living standards and food security, particularly for smallholder farmers.
Despite the importance of agriculture to livelihoods in Zimbabwe, significant investment gaps remain, and farmers bear the brunt of decreased crop yields and reduced incomes. On the one hand, they face increases in seed and fertiliser prices, a lack of modern energy and difficult access to markets and financial credit. On the other hand, droughts, cyclones and flooding have become more frequent and extreme due to climate change. Farmers are adapting, but without support to face these new challenges, they resort to practices such as overgrazing and cutting down trees to expand their land. This depletes the soil and reduces natural protection against climate events. Nevertheless, people-focused climate change adaptation can rehabilitate the environment, nourish soil and create better futures for rural communities.
Working closely with these communities and farmers for over 30 years, Practical Action develops ingenious solutions to these persistent challenges. Combining knowledge in agriculture and energy, we support farmers so they can enjoy food security and reliable livelihoods by introducing solar-powered irrigation schemes and access to energy for social and productive uses. We also embed climate change resilience via training and technologies which give early warning and access to water. In this way, communities affected by floods and droughts can prepare, cope and recover promptly from extreme weather.
Learn more about our ingenious innovations and how they have transformed the lives of rural communities and smallholder farmers through resilience building and gender transformation in Zimbabwe.