Organic Farming Breaks New Ground

Members of the Makoni Organic Farmers Association
The GEF Small Grants Programme of UNDP has supported farmers to diversify their produce, improving food security.

When he ventured into fish farming nearly six years ago, Mr. Philemon Geza, a former carpenter did not envision that this decision would herald a major turning point in his life.

“I was barely making ends meet in Mbare where I was working but now fish farming has given me a lifeline because it offers a better source of income” says the farmer, based in the Chinwai village of Tandi Central in Rusape district. Currently, he manages three fish ponds but to supplement his income, he is also involved in beekeeping and the cultivation of indigenous crops, as well as growing tree nurseries.

A member of the Makoni Organic Farmers Association (MOFA), he is one of the beneficiaries of the $ 50,000 support package from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme of UNDP. Though the grant, nearly 400 members from the villages of Chirimutsitu, Chitsua, Cheneka and Tandi in Makoni district have received organic farming skills training.

Highlights

  • Though a grant of $50,000, nearly 400 members from the villages of Chirimutsitu, Chitsua, Cheneka and Tandi in Makoni district have received organic farming skills training
  • The farmers received training in the application of crop rotation, livestock and green manure, composting, mulches and cover crops
  • Implemented in two phases from 2006 and 2011 under the Global Environment Facility’s biodiversity thematic area, the initiative was part of a $ 400,000 programme on sustainable use of biodiversity for enhancement of livelihoods
  • The project links farmers efforts to upstream policy measures such as the national waste strategy and biodiversity strategies, the forestry based and wildlife land reform policies, as well as the environment and natural resources strategic plan for the period 2011 – 2015

Through the GEF farmers received training in the application of crop rotation, livestock and green manure, composting, mulches and cover crops.

“In organic agriculture, we do not need to buy fertilisers or struggle to raise money for chemical pesticides as we use purely organic practices in all our activities. We are now able to use that money we used to set aside for fertilisers and pesticides to address our other household needs,” said Mrs Regina Chiwaya.

Implemented in two phases from 2006 and 2011 under the GEF’s biodiversity thematic area, the initiative was part of a $ 400,000 programme on sustainable use of biodiversity for enhancement of livelihoods.  It also entails wetlands rehabilitation as well as the promotion of agro-forestry and ecological restoration of degraded pasture and farm lands for increased agricultural and pasture production.

What started initially as a side-activity by a few individuals has gained momentum far and wide, with ramifications on sustainable livelihoods, food security and eco-system management in the district of Makoni district, located about kilometres east of the country’s city of Harare.

“Since 2007 when we started this practice, nearly everyone in the area is doing it, besides the core members,” says the group’s chairperson, Mrs Sifelani Zvigerenani adding that the group is well-organized, with members having established a revolving fund to facilitate access to capital.

By linking farmers efforts to upstream policy measures such as the of national waste strategy and biodiversity strategies, the forestry based and wildlife land reform policies, as well as the environment and natural resources strategic plan for the period 2011 – 2015, the GEF “ensured that their actions were in sync with the national policy framework” explained Mrs. Tsitsi Wutawunashe, who oversees the GEF programme in Zimbabwe.

As part of its marketing strategies, MOFA is working towards international organic certification. This will provide access to regional and eventually, international markets.

“So far, we are doing well” relates marketing officer, Mr. Alex Mpoperi. “If in seeking to sell our produce we approach a school or hospital they normally ask, how many tonnes do you have?” 

Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association
  • Makoni Organic Farmers Association

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