By Staff Reporter
Through the World Food Programme’s (WFP) integrated resilience programming, vulnerable populations in rural communities are being supported with innovative ways to reduce hunger.
While climate-related droughts can affect crops and bigger livestock such as cattle, it does not have the same impact on small livestock such as chicken and goats.
The WFP in partnership with Mwenezi Development Training Centre (MDTC) in Mwenezi district, Masvingo province, has been promoting the production of small livestock such as goats and indigenous Boschveld chickens which are drought-tolerant and with shorter gestation periods.
Through the Zambuko Livelihoods Initiative funded by USAID, the Kalahari Red and Boer goats are crossbred with local breeds to improve the quality of the goats.
“This is one of the components of the Zambuko project which aims to build the resilience of people in vulnerable circumstances through an integrated approach—bringing together smallholder production, access to finance and markets and improved social cohesion for better resilience outcomes,” the WFP said.
Abiot Madungwe, a smallholder farmer in Mwenezi, said he now has enough livestock.
“We were trained how to breed goats, make stock feeds from local produce from my field and I am also training my neighbours. This is interesting, and the future looks bright. With small livestock you are assured of better returns even during the drought season,” he said.
According to the WFP, farmers are encouraged to construct low-cost housing structures for goats and chickens.
“Due to high prices of manufactured stock feeds, farmers are being trained on fodder production and processing of homemade feeds. Beneficiaries were selected among those who participated in other resilience programmes.” WFP said
These are current FFA sites, crop production by International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) and GOAL, financial literacy, access to credit and market linkages by Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), Social Cohesion by Tree of Life and relevant government line ministries—to ensure the sustainability of the outcomes.
A total of 1500 households translating to 9 399 beneficiaries in two wards are benefiting from all components of the Zambuko project, including focusing on improving small livestock production and management.
“These are areas where livelihoods are more dependent on livestock production and new approaches to livelihood improvements are needed away from crop production due to the increasingly difficult conditions to grow crops in the medium to long term as a result of climate change impacts.”
Shanangu Matutu is also actively involved in poultry production and she is glad things are working well for her. “
I have more than thirty chickens and get dozens of eggs every day. I am now stable” she added.
CIMMYT implements the crop production component through demo trials with selected farmers, with emphasis on minimum soil disturbance, mulching, crop rotation and proper farm management. The focus is on drought-tolerant varieties including fodder crops.
GOAL provides support in scaling up promoted technologies in Conservation Agriculture activities. SNV oversees the financial education and market linkages component, targeting the same farmers by the other Zambuko partners.