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Zimbabwe Farmers Playing Key Role in Achieving Food Security

Agriculture used to be the mainstay of Zimbabwe's economy before the near collapse of the sector in 2008.

Relief agencies say farmers in some parts of Zimbabwe, under various food security programs funded by the United States International Aid for Development (USAID), have made giant strides in transforming agricultural production in the country.

In a statement to mark World Food Day, World Vision Zimbabwe and several organizations running the $98 million USAID-backed Amalima and other programs launched last year, said farmers are playing a key role in ensuring that Zimbabwe would achieve food security.

Two USAID-funded key interventions against food security are the World Vision-led Enhancing Nutrition and Stepping Up Resilience (ENSURE) Food Security Program, which operates in six districts within Masvingo and Manicaland Provinces, and the CNFA-led Amalima programme, which operates in four districts in Matabeleland North and South.

ENSURE is a shared commitment by four partners (World Vision, CARE, SNV, and SAFIRE). Amalima is a partnership of six Zimbabwean and international non-governmental organizations, (CNFA, ORAP, Dabane Water Workshops, Africare, the Manoff Group, and International Medical Corps).

The programs are set to help over 300,000 vulnerable Zimbabwean households to become more food secure by 2018.

The World Food Day’s theme this year is: ‘Family farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth’.

World Vision’s communications coordinator, Shamiso Matambanadzo, told VOA Studio 7 that as the world commemorates World Food Day, there is hope that family farming will spearhead Zimbabwe’s fight against hunger.

The majority of Zimbabweans in rural areas are subsitence farmers.
The majority of Zimbabweans in rural areas are subsitence farmers.

Last year the USAID food for peace office launched the five-year programs to reduce chronic malnutrition in children and improve food and nutrition security in 10 of the most food insecure districts in Zimbabwe.

The programs take a broad approach, combining nutritional support for young children and mothers through a variety of activities to improve agricultural production and incomes, improve health and hygiene practices, and strengthen community resilience. These strategies are aligned with the government of Zimbabwe’s national food and nutrition security policy.

David Evans of ENSURE said, “Having recently celebrated the one year anniversary of the ENSURE food security program, I am excited to report that we are seeing tremendous results in mobilising hundreds of communities to combat hunger. Over 400 women’s care groups have been formed to support good nutrition behaviours, over 30 productive livelihood assets have been completed including irrigation schemes and dams.”

Evans said hundreds of village savings and lending groups have been trained to save and invest money in productive enterprises with reported savings of more than $80,000.

“We are confident that all these interventions, and many more like them, will result in 215,000 people putting an end to hunger and extreme poverty in their households.”

Perrential droughts and poor farming methods have devastated the national herd over the years in Zimbabwe.
Perrential droughts and poor farming methods have devastated the national herd over the years in Zimbabwe.

David Brigham, chief of party for Amalima, said, “As we reflect on our first year of programming, we are proud of the excellent relationships developed with key stakeholders and communities."

Brigham added that “to date we have provided 50,000 targeted nutritional rations to pregnant and lactating women and children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, trained over 9,000 farmers in conservation agriculture and livestock techniques, and rehabilitated community gardens, built water and sanitation facilities in clinics, and reclaimed gullies in areas hit by flooding. We are excited about the lasting improvements we will see in our target districts over the coming four years.”