Promising Bumper Harvest for CGCDZ Small Grain Crops Beneficiaries in Bikita Wards 11 and13

Pindai Chiduwa (raised hand) and other members of Tagona Cooperative of Bikita district ward 11, beneficiaries of Centre for Gender and Community Development in Zimbabwe (CGCDZ) small grain crop distribution program showing off her crop.

Small grains have been noted as staple food grains in many semi-arid and tropical areas of the world particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa Zimbabwe included because of their good adaptation to harsh environments and their good yields of production. Centre for Gender and Community Development in Zimbabwe (CGCDZ), having assessed the agro-ecological pattern of Bikita as being dry, supported the growing of small grains after undertaking of series of training workshops with community partners in the area. CGCDZ supported one hundred households in Bikita’s wards 11 and 13 with 2kgs per crop of mhunga, mapfunde, rukweza and groundnuts per household during the current cropping season.  

Findings from a research conducted by CGCDZ in 2019 indicated that, small grains were generally the most drought-tolerant cereal grain crops that required little input during growth and with increasing world populations and decreasing water supplies, represented important crops for future human use.

Last week CGCDZ undertook an assessment trip to Bikita to monitor small grain crop beneficiaries’ progress and the state of the crops. After the field visit, the CEO Mr Vengesa Elliot said that, small grains have got the potential to contribute towards food security of many of the world’s poorest and most food insecure agro-ecological zones Bikita included. He emphasized that, this can be achieved through increasing production and productivity of these crops in such agro-ecological zones. It is essential to design small grain silos as strategic reserves, he underscored. One of the beneficiaries, Pindai Chiduwa was grateful to the work done by  CGCDZ  and said that she was expecting a bumper harvest from all the crops she planted. However, she said that if all households in the ward appreciated the nutritional value and resilience of small crops to harsh climatic challenges food insecurity and poverty would be history. Her alleged fears were that most people in the ward did not heed to the call of growing small grains and thus birds might be a menace during maturity time.

CGCDZ Operations Manager, Chida Mudadi promised that the organization will embark on a series of trainings to promote small grain growing during the following season before distribution. He also said that the community partners will also be taught post-harvest handling in order to minimize losses. Next agricultural season, CGCDZ intends to target more households as well as to increase the amount of small grain crops given per household to at least 50 kilograms.  Food insecurity remains rampant in Masvingo province specifically because of the ecology of the province and this calls for more collaboration among stakeholders to promote small grain crop growing to eliminate hunger.

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