The people in Bidi village are feeling the impact of climate change more than most, as temperatures in Zimbabwe have risen by approximately 2 degrees Celsius over the past century, which has seen a significant increase in extreme weather. In the past two decades alone, the people of Zimbabwe have suffered from 10 droughts.
Most of the people in the region depend on rain-fed agriculture to feed their families. It’s coming to the end of the rainy season and unfortunately the rains have again failed. Instead of fields full of maize and other crops ready to be harvested, there are vast swathes of stunted or dead plants.
Farmers are estimating that they will lose 75% of their harvest this year, meaning critical food shortages for these communities in the coming months.
Trόcaire is on the ground in Zimbabwe working with local partners to try to ensure that people have supports in place to get them over the crucial period.
“The next months will be extremely challenging for people here,” said Yvonne Muto, Trόcaire’s programme manager in Zimbabwe. “We have various long-term projects in place which will help mitigate the effects of this looming crisis in the communities where we work and will hopefully mean families can get through this worrying period.”
Several of these projects can be seen in the village of Bidi in the Bulawayo region, a hot and arid part of the country. Hleziphi Nkomo (43), a farmer in Bidi, explains the ‘Mopane Worm’ initiative.
“Mopane worms are actually the large edible caterpillars of a species of emperor moth that feed on the leaves of the Mopane tree in this area. They are seen as a delicacy and fetch good money in the capital Harare. They are also a good source of protein here. We have an ongoing project supported by Trόcaire that has enabled us to make the most of this natural resource.”
“We are able to harvest the worms from the Mopane trees twice a year. Once they are cooked and dried, we have been supported to package them and sell them direct to markets which means we are able to make more money for ourselves rather than it going to a middle-man. The money we make is so important as it means we have money to buy essentials for our families like cooking oil, salt, grains and school books for the children.”
There is no doubt that the coming months will be extremely difficult for the people of Bidi but without the initiatives funded by donations from Ireland, north and south, the people of the village say the outlook would be so much worse.
Trócaire Communications Officer, David O’Hare, recently visited Zimbabwe where he saw at first hand the devastating impact of climate change and Covid-19 on communities