Read full article By Lovejoy Mutongwiza @All Africa Photo Credit: Lovejoy Mutongwiza
Grappling with hunger and food insecurity is one of the major challenges that global communities, and Zimbabwe in particular, have been experiencing since the 1990s.
In 2016, Zimbabwe declared a state of emergency as drought caused crop failures across the country, rendering many communities vulnerable and food-insecure.
Earlier in the year, the World Food Program said estimates show that more than four (4) million Zimbabweans are likely to be food insecure at the end of the year and launched an urgent appeal to raise US$250 million for food acquisition.
This has necessitated a group of rural women in Mashonaland Central province to embark on a small grain farming project in an effort to mitigate climate changes induced hunger which is threatening more than four million people in the country.
With assistance from the Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD), the group has been on a mission to improve the dietary needs of their families as well as earn a living from small grains.
One of the smallholder farmers in Shamva District, Tambudzai Kasukuwere, a school dropout who took up the challenge to grow the crops, says the community suffers from low incomes and standards of living, as well as poor nutrition, housing and health.
This is aggravated by the fact that there is usually very little rainfall in the District.
“I love what I do because besides getting all the nutrients from these small grains, I have managed to monetize my passion. I’m not only growing grains but I’m growing money. There is good health from these grains and that’s what most people do not know.
“However, what must be known is that this is that due to low rainfall in the area, it is very difficult to grow the traditional cash crops we are used to. Climate change has had a huge negative impact on our society and unfortunately, many people failed to adapt to the changes hence they are now feeling the pinch. Let’s adopt climate change measures which will ensure that we are able to live off our passions,” Kasukuwere said on the sidelines of a Seed Fare in Guruve recently.
She ultimately won the competition, beating 21 other participants in the process.
Drought resistant crops such as sorghum, pearl millet, cowpeas and groundnuts have become extremely important to the local community.
This is because of the fact that they act as both food and cash crops, which enables smallholder farmers to adapt to climate change and variability and attain sustainable livelihoods.