shifting the focus of Zimbabwean smallholder farming from subsistence to cash cropping and providing a platform for productmarketing
Zimbabwean smallholder farmers practice monoculture of maize at large expanses of land. this is becoming ineffective because of the effects of climate change. Rainfall has become erratic and there are long dry spells, this exposes the maize to moisture stress and consequently reduces the yields. Rainwater capture can be used to supplement water requirements. This technique has been under utilized so its exploitation will allow for improvement of yields. It is also important for Zimbabwean smallholder farmers to grow for cash so as to combat the effects of climate change effectively. This concept however works with reducing the size of the farm so as to intensify the farming and make it possible to effectively utilize the captured rainwater. Having done this, cash crops like tomatoes, potatoes, sugar beans and soya beans can be grown instead of just growing maize which has a low per acre revenue compared to the four mentioned above. The focus of the farmer has to be shifted from producing just for food that season but to provide money which can then be used elevate livelihoods. Community networks are then used to establish new markets for the community's products both locally and nationally. Through interaction the communities can share ideas on how to become resilient towards the effects of climate change.
Category of the action
Mitigation/Adaptation, Changing public attitudes about climate change
What actions do you propose?
Making use of the rain saucer technique which is basically capturing rainwater from the tree canopies and channeling it into storage tanks. Any kind of polythene plastic can be used for this. it is more like an umbrella that is up-side down and captures all the water trickling from tree leaves. It can also be used to capture water directly as it falls and channel it to tanks. Mimicry lakes are basically wells or pond like structures that can be used to harvest all the water that is usually lost as overland flow
Changing crop regimes and reducing farm size; An awareness campaign for rural Zimbabwe
the small holder farmers can reduce the sizes of their farms to 2 hectares and less. This will allow them to utilize a piece of land they can effectively invest in and produce enough from it. this will ensure that they can also use the harvested water effectively to meet crop requirements during a mid season drought. they also have to know the benefits of other cash crops that have a higher net return per acre than maize
establishing a platform for community networking
the use of frontline SMS to create a platform for the farmers to exchange skills and market their products to each other. We also intend to create a website on which to market the products to the international community. On the platform, potential investors and microfinanceers can support the local farmers. Personnel from the group will travel in the country getting images of the products of all the involved farmers and marketing them on the website
Who will take these actions?
Individual based project but will require the support of other institutions such as government, Non Governmental Organizations and all interested stakeholders.
Where will these actions be taken?
This idea is for Zimbabwean rural areas but can be applied anywhere else applicable.
What are other key benefits?
- reduces monoculture and land degradation
- ensures food security
- communities can pocket money to combat the direct impacts of climate change like repairing a roof torn by heavy rain
- gross national happiness
- reduces rural dependency on their urban counterparts
What are the proposal’s costs?
- Changing the perception of societies over which crops to grow can be difficult