Monday, June 29, 2015

(HERALD ZW) Kasukuwere hails organic farming

(HERALD ZW) Kasukuwere hails organic farming | The Herald
Agriculture Reporter

Farmers should embrace Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) to boost agricultural production and overcome poverty, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, has said.

Minister Kasukuwere said this while officiating at the Makoni Organic Farmers Association (MOFA) Equator Initiative Award ceremony held at Chiundu High School in Rusape last Friday.

The association was awarded the UNDP Global Equator Prize for 2014 during a ceremony held in Lincoln Centre in New York in September last year.

The Equator Prize is awarded biennially to recognise and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

Cde Kasukuwere said indigenous people had their peculiar knowledge systems that conserved the environment.

“We had our own traditional values and norms that guided us in preserving natural resources. These should have been documented for use by the future generation.

“If we rely on our IKS, we will never go wrong, we should research and record the indigenous knowledge,” he said.

Cde Kasukuwere said people should learn from the elderly people and follow their ways.

“If we can embrace and scale up initiatives such as organic farming and other sustainable environmental management activities, this will lead to building resilience in vulnerable communities and promote sustainable development,” he said.

He commended the Makoni organic association for using organic methods in crop production as this was healthy and cheaper since the method relied on locally available resources.

“This is a clean way of producing food. Some of the chemicals used in crop production have detrimental effects on human health.

“I urge you to protect the rivers and forests and diversify your operations. You have a reliable water source and you should diversify into fish production to increase income,” he said.

UNDP Resident Representative Mr Bishow Parajuli emphasised MOFA’s contribution to sustainable development through community empowerment and participation, environmental sustainability, gender and health mainstreaming as well as inclusive participation by youth and local communities.

“This is in line with the new UNDP Strategic Plan that stresses the need to find ways of fighting poverty and inequality, deepening inclusion and reducing conflict, without inflicting irreversible damage on environmental systems, including the climate, ” he said.

MOFA chairperson Mrs Tamari Chipanga said the lives of the farmers in the area had greatly improved due to the project of organic farming.

“We rely on natural resources and produce healthy foods for our families. We used to have kitchen gardens but we have increased production and we are now supplying local markets with our produce.

“We have plenty of water but we have a challenge of harnessing it,” she said.

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At 8:55 AM , Blogger MrK said...

(UNDP) Sky’s the Limit for New Crop of Organic Farmers in Zimbabwe

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.

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?”

At 2:40 PM , Blogger klh said...

Ub Bivenber U wukk be teacubg a workshop in organic, no-till farming in permanent beds. It is free. Email: for info.

Ken Hargesheimer


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