Nesia Mhaka in Birchenough
Government has challenged farmers and communities to venture into smart agriculture programme to ensure food security. This was said by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri during the commissioning of a honey processing centre and establishment of Tashinga Garden at Chapanduka in Birchenough on Thursday.
The project is expected to ensure food security in the face of climate change. Minister Shiri said the transformation of smallholder agriculture was necessary in view of climate change.
He said the provision of water for economic activities and the diversification of livelihoods away from rain fed agriculture is of paramount importance.
“As you are all aware, Buhera district is located in the rain shadow of the eastern highlands and is a perennially dry region,” said Minister Shiri. “This dryness is exacerbated in years of drought such as the 2018/2019 season.
“Therefore, the provision of water for economic activities and the diversification of livelihoods away from rain-fed agriculture is of paramount importance.”
Minister Shiri said the ministry of agriculture will continue to support community resilience initiatives in drought prone areas such as Buhera, Chiredzi, Gokwe South and Bulilima.
He said the support came after the ministry identified climate change problems in the area and moving to address the challenges facing several communities.
“Amongst the interventions identified in Buhera District were the establishment of a honey processing centre at Chapanduka and support to a community initiative to establish the Tashinga Nutrition Garden, with the aim to enhance and diversify livelihoods for greater community resilience to the challenges posed by climate change, whilst promoting clean energy and tackling other challenges related to environmental degradation,” said Minister Shiri.
“The interventions at Chapanduka Honey Processing include the building of a structure to house the honey processing centre, the training of beneficiaries on bee-keeping and honey processing, the manufacture of by-products such as candles, shoe polish, honey lotion and floor polish.
“Furthermore, the beneficiaries were provided with marketing and business management skills. To promote climate change mitigation through the use of renewable energy and ensure that the centre produces products that meet hygienic standards, a solar powered borehole and solar water heater were provided.”
Minister Shiri commended communities in Buhera for supporting initiated projects which will sustain their livelihoods
He said processed honey at Chapanduka has been approved as a certified product by the Zimbabwe Organic Producers and Promoters Association and the centre was in the process of seeking Standards Association of Zimbabwe certification.
“At Tashinga Garden, I am informed that this year the community had already initiated its own livelihood enhancement project when the climate change projects were introduced,” said Minister Shiri.
The climate change project interventions included resuscitation of the borehole used at the garden by the community, expansion and fencing of the nutrition garden, training on climate sensitive cropping, marketing and financial management.