Livelihoods and food security for farmers

The problem

70% of Zimbabwe's population depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.  But smallholder farmers face low productivity for a number of reasons. These include drought, limited access to agricultural support services, insufficient quality inputs; restricted access to markets, and lack of credit and financial services

By introducing a selection of different crops, adapted to cope with lower rainfall, we will help smallholder farmers produce more food and improve nutrition for their families. 

What we’re doing to help

Objective: Improved productivity and nutrition for smallholder farmers

Improved Nutrition and Sustainable Production for Increased Resilience and Economic Growth (INSPIRE)

Location: Makoni, Mutare and Mutasa, Manicaland, Zimbabwe
Number of beneficiaries: Makoni 29,388, Mutare 27,125, Mutasa 18,000
Project date: December 2014 - January 2018
Partners: UN Food and Agriculture Organization and Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT)
Principal funders: DFID
Funding: $1,574,585

The project will focus on providing agricultural extension and advisory services, increasing the demand, production and consumption of different nutritious foods, developing markets and community based micro finance.

Providing information on livestock health, fish farming and improved breeds will also help increase productivity and build stronger stock. Farmers are learning to use market systems in order to obtain better prices for their produce. And new agroecological techniques are helping them to adapt to the changing climate. 

By working together farmer groups have been able to exploit economies of scale and bargaining power when buying agricultural inputs. INSPIRE transforming lives

Since 2016, INSPIRE has helped more than 2,000 farmers to access loans worth more than US$ 800,000  through joint awareness meetings with Financial Service Providers and financial literacy trainings on financial literacy and income generating activities. 

More than 1,000 local saving and lending groups have been set up to help farmers to finance their investments. More than half the membership of these groups is female.

Agricultural innovations introduced by the project include:

  • Fish farming
  • Rearing indigenous chickens
  • Contract farming
  • Zai pit farming


Look how far your money can go

We used to be short-changed every time we negotiated with private companies, but now because of the training we received on financial literacy, we are able to make better business arrangements that leave us empowered and able to deliver and grow our enterprise to another level.”  – Choice Murinda, Chairperson Tayambuka farmers group Zimbabwe


Playlist of videos from the project

A new view of men's role in the home

The INSPIRE program in Manicaland is trying to find a solution to a persistent problem: Despite being an area rich in agriculture, even in years when rains are good and harvests come in well, the average rate of stunting (slower than usual growth) of children five years and younger is quite hi...

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Look and learn inspires farmers

“After this look and learn horticultural visit, coupled with the proper technical support when I go back home, as we have exactly the same resources that are being used for production of seedlings, I feel that I can establish my own local small scale commercial community based nursery bu...

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Climate Smart Agriculture and Smallholder Farmers

The critical role of Technology Justice in effective adaptation. Agricultural adaptation to climate change is critical for food security and economic development; if it is to be truly ‘climate-smart’ for smallholder farmers, it must be inclusive and protect the natural resource base upon which agricultural livelihoods depend. This paper uses Technology Justice as a lens to discuss the climate resilience of smallholder agriculture systems. It argues for user-centred technological innovation and supports agroecological approaches as a powerful way to promote the inclusion of marginalized farmer groups, increase adaptive capacity, and realize food security and economic development in the context of climate change.

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Updates from the INSPIRE project

Zai pit technology increasing yields in Mutasa

Enneta Kudumba is one of the many farmers in Mutasa district, Manicaland Province who have succes...
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