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Food Security

We are now able to send our children to school since selling our surplus maize

The Salvation Army International Development UK is an umbrella term for the community development work that The Salvation Army United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland supports around the world. This work is divided into six themes, four of which sit within the International Projects Office (Clean Water,  Emergency ResponseFood Security and Income Generation), and two of which sit within Anti-Trafficking & Modern Slavery (Anti-Trafficking and Gender Justice). We are also responsible for overseeing the transfer of funds for the UK’s Mission Support Allocation (money donated through the annual Self-Denial Appeal).

On this page, you will find information about our Food Security theme, stories from our projects and resources (coming soon) to help you raise funds and awareness about this issue within your community.

Conservation Agriculture, Zimbabwe

More than 80 per cent of Zimbabwe’s population is dependent on local subsistence farming to earn a living. However, consistently poor harvests mean food insecurity is increasing and the majority of households live below the poverty line.

In partnership with Zimbabwean organisation Foundations for Farming, The Salvation Army trains farmers in conservation agriculture to ensure they can produce plentiful crops despite the challenge of inconsistent rainfall and drought.

The project began in 2014 and a group of 29 small- scale farmers received training on how to use conservation agriculture to improve their yields.

In the years that have past, all 29 farmers have continued to apply the methods they had learnt, such as mulching their fields to preserve soil moisture from evaporation, planting on time and using holes in straight lines during planting.

They have each reaped the benefits of adapting to using conservation agriculture methods. For example, they are now assured of greater harvests despite the prolonged dry periods, and they are less reliant on adding costly fertilisers. This is due both to their soils becoming healthier, and that they are now more able to predict when to plant their crops as a result of their training.

An important element of this project was the responsibility of the first participants to teach others in their villages – promoting community cohesion and ensuring a greater impact. The farmers have continued to train their neighbours and they too are now experiencing the benefits.

One of the farmers, Stembille Machemedze, said, ‘We are now able to send our children to school since we are now selling the surplus maize harvest.’

Another farmer, Honest Gudu, relies on his small plot of land to provide for his family. He must harvest enough to provide for a full year of food to eat, as well as surplus to sell and gain some money for other necessities. Honest has had numerous healthy harvests and he remains enthusiastic about the project and the method of conservation agriculture that is now second nature to him.

He said, ‘I harvested 43 bags of maize during the last season. I plan to sell 23 bags of maize and spare 20 bags of maize for my family consumption.’ When asked how he would use the money from the sale, he explained, ‘I will use part of it to pay school fees for my children and buy seeds for the next season.’

Unsurprisingly, Honest is keen to share the impact that switching to these methods has had, and to ensure that others can benefit too:

‘Once I realised that my one hectare of land could produce more bags of maize when I applied these methods, I could not turn back. I have become the teacher in my village and have helped all my neighbours learn how to use these methods.’

With the success of this initial phase, we are currently in the process of scaling up this project so it can reach hundreds of more farmers across ten new areas of Zimbabwe.

Other Food Security Projects

The Salvation Army is supporting a number of food security projects around the world such as reintroducing edible insects into the habitat of rural Democratic Republic of Congo, overcoming malnutrition and improving the local environment. Contact us if you would like to find out more.

Resources

Coming soon!