5. Change mindsets and policies
Sekai and Alleta’s transformed farms are inspiring to see. Yet for most other farmers, they are still using traditional approaches which leaves them at risk.
There are still negative attitudes in society towards growing small grains, and most farmers still rely on growing maize, which is very vulnerable to drought. The Zimbabwe government policy also heavily promotes hybrid maize and wheat rather than small grains.
Our programme tries to change these mindsets. Through organising food and seed fairs, communities get the opportunity to taste the food and get information on how to grow the different small grain varieties. We are beginning to make inroads and to win people over.
With our partner organisations we are also pushing for the government to change laws and policies and to promote traditional seeds. Our partners are campaigning for a shift in thinking and are urging the government to redirect investment towards agroecology and sustainable crop production.
We are happy that, in the 2019 – 2030 National Agriculture Policy Framework, the government recognises agroecology as a sustainable and resilient farming practice and is putting in place a policy and strategies for its implementation.
It has made farmers like Sekai and Alleta more resilient and could make a huge difference across Zimbabwe if these approaches were promoted widely.
With climate change only set to make things more difficult and drier in the years to come, these innovative techniques could really be transformative.
This project was funded with the generous support of Irish Aid.