Agro-Bio Diversity

GOROMONZI | farmer field school

About  Our Programme

we works with and supports resource-poor communities in the conservation, management and promotion of crop genetic diversity at local levels to ensure human well- being and poverty alleviation through increased seed and food security. carries out research and analyses fundamental rural development aspects such as climate change, poverty, food security, equity, economic growth, health, trade and provide options to address the root causes of agricultural biodiversity loss, hunger and poverty

About  Our Programme

we works with and supports resource-poor communities in the conservation, management and promotion of crop genetic diversity at local levels to ensure human well- being and poverty alleviation through increased seed and food security. carries out research and analyses fundamental rural development aspects such as climate change, poverty, food security, equity, economic growth, health, trade and provide options to address the root causes of agricultural biodiversity loss, hunger and poverty

GOROMONZI | farmer field school

About  Our Programme

we works with and supports resource-poor communities in the conservation, management and promotion of crop genetic diversity at local levels to ensure human well- being and poverty alleviation through increased seed and food security. carries out research and analyses fundamental rural development aspects such as climate change, poverty, food security, equity, economic growth, health, trade and provide options to address the root causes of agricultural biodiversity loss, hunger and poverty

Smallholder farmers in Murehwa, Chipinge and Mutokocarried out the diversity wheel exercise to determine the number and types of crops grown by many farmers over a large area, number and types of crops grown by few farmers over a large area, number and type of crops grown by many farmers over a small area, number of crops by few farmers over a small area and the number and type of crops which are/were being lost from the communities.

 It was noted that an estimated 75% of traditional rice plant genetic diversity has been lost in these districts due to changing rainfall patterns and there is need to repatriate the lost varieties from the national gene banks in the respective countries.

Community Seed Banks (CSBs) are structures built by communities for purposes of conserving seeds of local crop varieties.Farmers can deposit their seeds either as families or as communities.  Farmers can withdraw their seeds from the community seed bank as and when they need to do so.

During the period under review, a total of 2 community seed banks were constructed in Mudzi and UzumbaMarambaPfungwe. One of the community seed banks was officially opened by Oxfam Novib Executive Director, Ms.FaranazKarimi on 7th September 2017. This seed bank which currently holds over 1200 accessions of different crop varieties was built with financial support from National Postcode Lottery of the Netherlands via Oxfam Novib. In her keynote address, Ms.FaranazKarimi highlighted the importance of small holder farmers in Zimbabwe to have access to the right seeds, at the right time and at the right price for them to produce enough food especially in the face of growing climate variability and change. She noted that private and public seed companies tend to produce seeds with a high commercial value and less or none of those seeds that are suitable for the environments in which smallholder farmers live. The right seeds mean those that are locally adapted, resilient and important for household food and nutrition security and these tend to be grown mostly by women farmers. She noted that Sowing Diversity = Harvesting Security (SD=HS) programme came about after realizing the effects of   climate change to food security. Farmers needed to access and select new crops and crop varieties with climate resilient characteristics and traits. Crops with such traits could be sourced from national and international gene banks, research institutes and community seed banks.

 

Ms Karimi highlighted further that farmers through the FFS approach have managed to access 70 crop varieties of maize, pearl millet, sorghum, groundnut and cowpeas from private and public sector institutions that include CIMMYT, the Zimbabwe Crop Breeding Institute, ICRISAT, Community Seed Banks and the National Gene bank of Zimbabwe which led tothe increase of diversity of seeds within the targeted communities. Despite the worst drought and floods in decades, the programme results show that farmers in the programme haveincreased crop diversity from an average of 4 to 7 crops per household (75%) and a reduction of the hunger months from 4 to 2.5 months per year among households in the target districts.

Oxfam and CTDO support farmers and their seed systems through the farmers field schools (FFS) approach since the seed systems are not just about sharing seeds but also about sharing knowledge, the joint ownership and cooperation to strive for improved policies..

As part of the event, a seed fair which is an integral component of community seed banking since it  provide farmers with an important opportunity not only to save, showcase, exchange and share knowledge but also to facilitate creation of market linkages for seed and grain was held to showcase crop diversity that is in the hands of smallholder farmers. Farmers demonstratedon how community seed banking is being employed to enhance the resilience of smallholder famers in the face of a changing climate and a weak food and nutrition security system. Over 250 farmers drawn from 11 districts attended the seed fair.

During the ceremony a total of 25 project staff, AGRITEX officers and lead farmers were awarded with certificates in honor of the good work they are doing in farmer field schools

During the year under review, a number of seed fairs were held. At these seed fairs, high crop diversity was found. Crops that were on display include sorghum, local maize, pearl millet, finger millet, cowpeas, bambaranuts, groundnuts, sweet reed, sunflower, okra, beans, watermelon, traditional rice, sesame and a wide array of indigenous vegetables. Farmers from Chipinge district had the highest number of crop diversity on display followed by UMP while Goromonzi and Murehwa had the least diversity respectively. The seed fair showed that farmers from those districts with low rainfall had a higher crop and variety diversification in comparison with high rainfall ones as shown below

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