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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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USAID facilitating programmes that promote resilience

USAID Food Security and Livelihood Specialist, Mr Thabisani Moyo   says the US embassy has already taken strides in facilitating most rural communities with programmes that will promote resilience to drought-stricken societies.

This surfaced at a joint  stakeholder convention by the Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC) and the United States Agency International Development (USAID) Zimbabwe concerning the food and nutrition security in Zimbabwe.

“As a way of promoting community resilience during drought, the American government have taken some steps in facilitating programmes that leaves communities with assets  as way of relieving themselves.

To break the cycle of drought, poor health and poverty, USAID and its implementing partner World Vision have focused on building sustainable and resilient strategies for growing enough food through development food assistant projects. The approach focuses on building famers’ knowledge and skills using skills, using resources they have available or that can be obtained locally. Examples are projects done in Manicaland in Buhera, the projects promote fertility trenches. In Southern Zimbabwe in communities of Mazhau, new irrigation tools are bringing sustainability and resilience to the farming community despite ongoing cycles of drought.  In these areas dams are constructed to provide irrigation for farmers to do organic farming hence growing beans, tomatoes, groundnuts and other nutritious crops. The farmers can then eat these healthy foods at home year round or sell them at local markets, “he said.

Mr Moyo conceded that irrigation programmes can help most Zimbabwean communities to build resilience to the droughts and erratic rainfall that wreak havoc on crop growth. He said as El Nino moves through the region these tools will be important to ensure that communities have access to the food, markets and livelihoods thy need.

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Speaking at the same occasion Office Director Humanitarian Assistance and Resilience, Jason Taylor   said  Zimbabwe needs an immediate assistance on Food and Nutrition security, due to the severe El Nino climatic change.

Emirates

“Poor weather conditions during the 2014 to 2015 agricultural season, including erratic rainfall and long dry spell contributed to large scale crop failure across the country, this has resulted to second straight year of drought high temperatures above normal  and low rainfall are being experienced in Zimbabwe and  Africa at large. Such situations needs a lot of adaptation. The cycling droughts must be also on the other hand be taken as an advantages by communities for them to adopt to new forms of agriculture. There is need for farmers to change their way of farming that suit the current situation. Farmers should therefore use irrigation as a way of utilizing the minimal water they are receiving. Statistics about cattle deaths due to drought related diseases like foot and mouth and anthrax are devastating especially the rising numbers since 2015. In such cases farmers should also venture into small livestock farming . This is because small livestock can easily be sold and that’s the resilience being talked about,” said Mr Taylor.
Mr Taylor also said food security is crucial during drought as poor food contributes to malnutrition. He said the US Government through the (USAID) is addressing drought in Zimbabwe through long and short term interventions.

“USAID has contributed $35 million in emergency assistance reaching 600,000 people  since June 2015 in response  to drought , meeting the immediate food needs of the most vulnerable people and also building resilience against future climatic shocks such as drought. Food security is of importance, malnutrition is the major concern and it has an impact on children particularly under the age of 5. Communities are also encouraged to build resilience, particularly poor community have fewer assets, so they are encouraged to own accumulation and protection of assets to protect saving accounts for survival.”

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Private Enterprise Officer John Macy added that beside the crops side agriculture they are also focusing on the Zimbabwean livestock development programmes.

“The Impact of drought has affected the livestock sector and the households that depends on livestock, in most areas cattle are going long distance to find grazing lands some die on their way to grazing lands and water sources because of poor surface water. Pastures have never recovered from poor rainfall from last year. From our research there also a problem of anthrax foot and mouth disease  outbreaks therefore there is  movement restrictions  within communities , therefore cattle  cannot go to other areas for grazing  and also to get water ,  cattle  farmers cannot sell  their cattle to other  districts unless if there is an abattoir  locally,” said Macy.

“But however we have an initiative programme which build resilience to poor rural communities in the country, such as assisting them for market linkages, credit facilities, inductions courses equipping them with knowledge to do various projects on small grains agriculture and to plant drought resistance crops like Sorghum, and early mature crops for sustainable food security development at house hold level.”

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