Posted on 13 October 2022
Stakeholders involved in the implementation of the ‘Food Security and Habitat Protection in KAZA’project led by WWF working in partnership with The Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP) and Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT), which started earlier this year, have expressed their commitment to its success.
The project brings together traditional leaders, village heads, church representatives, school development committee members, lead farmers, community garden members, village health workers, community development coordinators, resource monitors, water committees, income savings and lending groups.
“We welcome the program to our area, as it is the first developmental program coming to the Lusulu area and as Agritex we are willing to collaborate with WWF,” Simon Mudenda Department of Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services(Agritex) supervisor for Lusulu says.
The main activities under the agroecology project include a farmer field school, demo plots, market linkages, agro-dealers engagement and social safeguards.
“We are happy with the agroecology program and we hope it will bring transformation to the communities,” says Alexander Sikulitabika, one of the beneficiary farmers.
This project focuses on three main areas: Agroecology, targeting 700 farmers in Binga, One Health approach for livestock management which is targeting 100 farmers in Hwangeand Institutional and Policy support for sustainable agriculture. Its goals are to
capacitate communities to improve their livelihoods and protect the surrounding habitat through Agro-ecology and livestock management through the one health approach and to increase crop and livestock production, conserve crop fields and rangelandsand generate additional income streams through engagement in formal value chains.
The agroecology aspect involves establishing farmer field schools, demonstration plots, capacity building of smallholder farmers, conducting exchange visits between farmers so that they can learn best practices from each other and field days, supporting farmers with input support and engagement with agro-dealers and linking farmers to markets.
One health includes identifying best practices for livestock herding, designing livestock management plans, establishing and building the capacity of livestock committees. Under this approach, market linkages of the beef value chain are also strengthened. It also involves supporting operations of the co-designed livestock management plans.
There has been a lot of interaction between wildlife and livestock and in the process wildlife carry diseases that can be passed affect livestock such as foot and mouth and anthrax, among others. The diseases are mainly caused and spread by ticks.
The One Health aspects aim to reduce the spread of such diseases through paddocking of livestock, improved dipping to control tick infestations and formation of livestock committees whose sole responsibility is to manage livestock.
For institutional and policy support for agriculture, the project promotes agroecology governance. This involves creating a process that can influence agroecology policy through practises from grassroot or farmer level to government. It also includes stakeholder collaborations, capacity strengthening of the multi stakeholder platforms for adoption of agroecology, lobbying for agroecology, creation of innovation platforms that link with academic institutions, researching, developing and publishing policy briefs for national agroecology adoption.
To achieve the goals of this project WWF Zimbabwe, ORAP and VFWT are workingwith several stakeholders such as lead farmers, the private sector, agro-dealers, and the Zimbabwean government’s Agritex – an arm of the Zimbabwe agriculture sector and key stakeholders within the operational area, Zimbabwe National Parks and wildlife, Forestry and the Rural District council.