Increasing food security and resilience to climate change

The problem

Most of the rural population in Southern Africa depend on rain-fed agriculture.  These farmers are increasingly feeling the effects of extreme weather, particularly drought. In addition  have poor access to quality inputs and technology. 

Gwanda district is one of the driest areas in Zimbabwe with less than 500 mm of rain a year. Communities in Gwanda often experience food shortages because of severe drought. 

What we’re doing to help

Objective: Increase food security and improve 3,000 people’s resilience to climate shocks in the Gwanda district.

Enhanced agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change through solar irrigation

Location: Gwanda, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe
Number of beneficiaries: 3,000 smallholder farmers
Project dates: October 2014 – September 2017 
Principal funders: Trocaire, UKAid
Funding: £380,000

This project is addressing the major underlying causes of food insecurity in Zimbabwe including poor access to water for irrigation, insufficient food production and a lack of livelihoods alternatives to crop production.

Outcomes include

  • Improved access to water for smallholder farmers – creating gardens equipped with solar pumping, tank supply systems and drip irrigation
  • Increasing crop production and crop diversification with starter packs for diverse vegetable crops and organic fertilizer
  • Training in maintenance of solar and pumping systems, water conservation, community seed multiplication, participatory extension approaches, diversifying income sources and value addition such as drying and food processing
  • Distribution of goats and indigenous chickens for alternative livelihoods
  • Knowledge materials for new crops such as onions, carrots, brassicas and tomatoes

The solar powered drip irrigation technology has ensured water use efficiency in the driest parts of the country resulting in farmers increasing cultivated areas. Nine solar powered pumping systems have reduced the drudgery associated with carrying water.

Simangaliso Nkomo lives in Sibhula, Gwanda district of Zimbabwe. She has 9 children - 5 girls and 4 boys. The eldest is 35 and the youngest is 21 and she has 8 grandchildren.  She is participating in the solar irrigation project which increases food security for poor vulnerable households in the Gwanda District of Zimbabwe by providing water for gardens of 1 hectare each. 

"We had to carry the water from the river which took a lot of time and energy. We felt like we were begging from our husbands for money. Since the scheme began, we have been able to have our own income and don’t need to ask our husbands for money anymore and we can pay school fees as well. We are teaching our children to use the gardens. We have also been able to help disabled children through our income. I am very happy with the assistance given."


Similar projects

Sustainable Energy for Rural Communities

Sustainable Energy for Rural Communities (SE4RC) is helping families survive future droughts, put food on their tables and sell surplus crops to earn a living. We are achieving this by connecting irrigation schemes to solar-powered mini-grids.

Read more

Livelihoods and food security for farmers

By growing different crops, adapted to cope with lower rainfall, smallholder farmers are able to produce more food and improve nutrition for their families.

Read more
no comments