Local NGO establishes community nutrition gardens

Fildah Gwati

WOMEN in some rural areas will soon be enjoying enhanced access to healthy and fresh produce following the establishment of community nutrition gardens by a local non-governmental organisation 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation.

The gardens will also serve as vehicles of economic empowerment for the women, as they will sell surplus produce and generate incomes.

In a recent X (formerly twitter) post, 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation said: “Fresh, nutritious food is a right, not a privilege. That’s why we’re working to bring community gardens to rural communities, so everyone can have access to healthy, fresh produce.”

An interview recently, 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation executive director Mr John Muchenje said the programme began in 2022 in Hurungwe, Mashonaland West Province and was moving to other provinces across the country.

“In Hurungwe eight solar-powered boreholes have been drilled and nutritional gardens have been set up to benefit 400 women. The goal is to have a group of 50 women per one-hectare garden maximising the impact and reach of the initiative.”

He added that the programme had also reached Chiwundura in the Midlands where eight boreholes had since been drilled with setting up expected to be complete by end of April.

“Our beneficiaries are women in these initiatives because of their vulnerability, as they often bear the responsibility of searching for vegetables and other food stuffs. The programme aims to empower women with knowledge while providing them with tools and resources needed for sustainable food production,” explained Mr Muchenje.

The women involved in the programme are cultivating horticultural crops such as vegetables and crops like maize and okra, which they sell in their local markets.

“We want to provide these women with ‘start-up kits’ containing seedlings and seeds that enable them to establish and maintain their own gardens,” Mr Muchenje added.

He explained that the impact of the programme had been significant, as access to clean water had reportedly improved through the drilling of boreholes and the establishment of gardens had not only boosted food security but also helped generate additional income for the participants.

The programme has created opportunities for increased access to nutritious food and has been well-received by the communities involved.

“This programme is a national initiative conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development highlighting the commitment of the Government to address food security and empower rural communities in vulnerable areas.

“As the programme expands, more regions are expected to benefit from this transformative approach to ensure that fresh healthy food is accessible to all,” he added.

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