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LEAD secures market for Mhakwe bean farmers

by Blessing Rwizi
30 May 2016 at 06:55hrs | Views
LINKAGES for Economic Advancement of the Disadvantaged (LEAD) organisation has this year secured sugar beans and Michigan pea-beans market for farmers at Mhakwe Irrigation Scheme in Chimanimani.

The deal was hammered under the Feed the Future Zimbabwe Crop Development Program (FtFZ-CD), which is a five-year USAID supported programme which commenced in June 2015 and is expected to end in June 2020.

Manica Post reported that the programme's goal is to reduce rural poverty and improve food security of targeted smallholder producers in natural regions three, four and five through increased productivity, increased market linkages and improved nutrition and hygiene practices.

LEAD has linked Mhakwe farmers to Harvest Fresh and Cairn Foods for sugar beans and Michigan pea-beans, respectively.

These companies are buying the produce at the current market price starting from this year.

Prior to the initiative, the NGO had linked these smallholder farmers to micro-finance institution, Lance Financial Services for credit to procure crop inputs for the production of sugar beans and Michigan pea beans as winter crops.

Each of the farmers received a loan in the form of inputs valued at $211 for production of 0,2 hectares of sugar beans and Michigan pea beans.

LEAD also managed to engage farmers into trainings on good agricultural practices as well as look and learn tours in other irrigation schemes around the province.

Its target by 2020 is 50 000 households on dry land impacted by programme initiatives, 7500 households in irrigation schemes impacted by programme initiatives, 500 market linkages created, 5 000 new jobs created, at least 37 750 households accessing credit and at least 37 750 households adopting good nutrition and hygiene practises.

One of the beneficiaries of the FtFZ-CD programme,  Dudzai Gore, said: "Before then non-governmental organisation came to this area, our yields had gone very low because of lack of inputs. Now there is change and life has been brought to this community. Trainings on good agricultural practices have also been of great use to most farmers. Farming has been made easier through the establishment of eight demonstration plots or sugar beans, butter-nuts and hybrid tomatoes as field learning centres in our community."

Acting Chief Muusha also said Mhakwe farmers had resources, but they lacked farming education and capital to produce good yields.

"I am very happy with what this organisation is doing to the Mhakwe community which had seen decrease in its yields because of financial challenges and farming education. We will continue working hard together with LEAD towards the success of people in this area," said Chief Muusha.

As part of drought mitigation strategies and increased food access, the FtFZ-CD programme has also capacitated women in processing of food, including dried black jack, pumpkin leaves, cowpea leaves, cleome, tomatoes, oranges, beans, groundnuts, peanut butter and sorghum flour.

These are meant to promote all year round access to nutritious food, thereby enhancing food security at household level.

It has also offered technical support to young people to produce nurseries of horticultural crops for their own production and for sale to farmers in the irrigation scheme. This is in line with program deliveries that seek to empower the young folk to establish their own enterprises.

Mhakwe Irrigation Scheme has been operational since 2001, with 53 plot holders using sprinklers to water their crops. Each farmer owns 0,4 hectares.

Source - Manica Post
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