Villagers from Hwange District, Ward 16 are reaping the rewards of the Integrated Food, Nutrition and Income (FNI) project aimed at capacitating households to increase and diversify production of crops and small livestock.
By Edgar Gweshe
The FNI project which is being funded by the European Union (EU) is being implemented by a consortium of four partners namely SNV-Netherlands Development Organization, the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD), Environment Africa and Caritas Hwange.
The project also aims to enhance food and nutritional security among households.
In Hwange district, farmers from Chavasichana village have set up a nutritional garden where they are carrying out various farming activities that include vegetable as well as maize production.
Interviewed beneficiaries who were speaking on the sidelines of the World Food Day commemorations held in Hwange said the project has become a source of livelihood as they are also realizing financial benefits from the farming activities running under the FNI project.
The villagers who are working together under the Tibataneni Garden project added that the FNI project has helped in ensuring food security in their area.
Chairperson of the project, Mika Sibanda, confirmed that besides providing food, the project had enabled villagers to meet their financial demands using proceeds from the Tibataneni Garden project.
“We are now able to provide good nutrition for our families since we started this project. The project has great emphasis on improving nutrition and since we started it, we have benefited quite significantly. We have various vegetables that we are growing here and this has allowed a number of families in this area to get balanced diets.
“On top of that, there is also the issue of monetary gains. We are selling some of the produce and the money that we get helps us in meeting demands such as paying school fees for our children,” said Sibanda.
The villagers are working with the assistance of Agritex officers who advise them on best farming practices.
Another beneficiary, Pedzisai Simon said, “Since we started the project, we have not only managed to pay school fees for our children but we have also been able to form various clubs as women. From the money we are getting from selling our agricultural produce, we have been able to buy household property that we then share amongst ourselves. We are also buying groceries in bulk after which we will share amongst ourselves.”
Village Head, Dumisani Mpala commended the FNI project saying it had significantly improved the lives of ordinary villagers from his area.
The FNI project has also assisted villagers from Binga District who have benefited from an irrigation as well as fisheries project.
The villagers from Binga have also benefitted from a goat rearing project under which they were given the giant Boer goats as a way of improving the goat breed in their area.
The cross breeding project has enabled the farmers to produce better breeds which fetch more money on the market.
This has significantly improved the livelihoods of the farmers who are also getting financial rewards from the goat breeding project.