Archive for November 7th, 2017

Seed banks help Zimbabwe’s farmers tackle climate change

“Seed security is food security” is something of a mantra in developing world agronomy circles. In Zimbabwe, the adage is gradually being put into action by promoting the use of indigenous small grains threatened with extinction by the dominance of maize, both in fields and on dinner tables.

This dominance has left indigenous small seeds such as millet, cowpeas and sorghum as bit players in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, despite their greater resilience to weather shocks such as droughtwhich are occurring with increasing frequency and severity in Zimbabwe because of the effects of climate change.

Such small seeds also tend to require fewer of the expensive inputs required by commercial hybrid maize.

John Misi, the administrator of Mudzi District, in Mashonaland East Province, explained that getting farmers to use small grains “has been a challenge as maize is our staple food, and as such people are used to planting maize in this community.”

For example, most of the land farmed by Jameson Sithole, a smallholder in a marginal and dry area of Chipinge, in Manicaland Province, is planted with maize. He sows just two of his 17 hectares with indigenous small grains.

“Maize is a cash crop such that I am able to sell without challenges, helping me to send my 10 children to school and buy equipment for my farm,” he told IRIN. “With small grains it’s different. But l need to supplement my maize stocks when they run out and feed my family during drought.”

One hurdle standing in the way of greater use of indigenous seeds is their relative lack of availability.  Whereas farmers tend to buy maize seeds from commercial suppliers, 95 percent of all other kinds of seed are obtained from their own crops or those of fellow farmers.

Community spirit

Seed banks can help to solve this problem.

Community seed banks tend to work along the same lines as money banks: farmers take out loans of seeds, which in many cases are donated by the local community, and then repay the loan in kind with interest after they harvest their crops.

Seed banks typically consist of small dark rooms protected from the heat of the sun and filled with shelves of pots and bottles containing a wide range of indigenous seeds, including, in the case of Zimbabwe, millet, cowpeas and local varieties of maize.

According to an April 2017 paper on the evolution and role of seed banks in several countries around the world published by Development in Practice, such facilities help “enhance the resilience of farmers, in particular of communities and households most affected by climate change.”

This is because they can “secure improved access to, and availability of, diverse, locally adapted crops and varieties, and enhance related indigenous knowledge and skills in plant management” – including seed selection and distribution.

Jameson Patricia Muchenje, a smallholder farmer in the district of Rushinga, in Mashonaland Central Province, is a case in point.

“In our community we are working towards keeping and protecting our small grains from disappearing through our community seed bank,” she told IRIN. “We have been working together, teaching each other on planting the right seeds and use the best farming techniques.”

She added that she and other farmers in her neighbourhood were soon hoping to sell seeds from the seed bank “to enable us to get some income, which we can use to upgrade our seed bank infrastructure or start our income-generating projects such as market gardening or poultry projects."

Marjorie Jeke, a farmer in Murehwa District, in the neighbouring province of Mashonaland East said: "In the event that there are floods and our crops don’t do well in the field, the seed bank becomes useful as I will go back to the seed bank and retrieve my seeds for free to replant.

“I don’t have to struggle borrowing from neighbours, or to bother my children with money because the seed bank has made it easier for us to survive as farmers.”

Safety net

According to recent field research conducted by Oxfam in Zimbabwe, “access to the right seeds at the right time, and for the right price, is critical to being able to produce enough food to eat in the face of growing climate disruption.

“Farmer seed systems and community seed banks provide an important safety net for cash-strapped, vulnerable people,” the Oxfam report said. “Supporting them is an adaptation opportunity that is currently being missed.”

In September, the Community Technology Development Trust, an NGO based in Harare, opened a seed bank in Mudzi district. It was the fourth such facility it had set up, and several more are in the pipeline.

They are needed because “farmers are slowly losing their valuable indigenous crop seeds due to the vigorous promotion and growing of hybrid crop varieties, which concentrate on a small number of varieties designed for intensive farming,” CTDT Director Andrew Mushita said at the opening.

If Mushita has his way, seed banks, which he said cost around $20,000 each to set up, would be established in all of Zimbabwe’s rural districts.

The value of seed banks is clear, but Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector – despite its importance to economic growth – suffers from under funding.

Without sustained external support, there’s a risk that seed banks fall into disuse after the initial start-up financing runs out, the Development in Practice paper noted.

sn/am/oa

Read More

Seed banks help Zimbabwe’s farmers tackle climate change

“Seed security is food security” is something of a mantra in developing world agronomy circles. In Zimbabwe, the adage is gradually being put into action by promoting the use of indigenous small grains threatened with extinction by the dominance of maize, both in fields and on dinner tables.

This dominance has left indigenous small seeds such as millet, cowpeas and sorghum as bit players in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, despite their greater resilience to weather shocks such as droughtwhich are occurring with increasing frequency and severity in Zimbabwe because of the effects of climate change.

Such small seeds also tend to require fewer of the expensive inputs required by commercial hybrid maize.

John Misi, the administrator of Mudzi District, in Mashonaland East Province, explained that getting farmers to use small grains “has been a challenge as maize is our staple food, and as such people are used to planting maize in this community.”

For example, most of the land farmed by Jameson Sithole, a smallholder in a marginal and dry area of Chipinge, in Manicaland Province, is planted with maize. He sows just two of his 17 hectares with indigenous small grains.

“Maize is a cash crop such that I am able to sell without challenges, helping me to send my 10 children to school and buy equipment for my farm,” he told IRIN. “With small grains it’s different. But l need to supplement my maize stocks when they run out and feed my family during drought.”

One hurdle standing in the way of greater use of indigenous seeds is their relative lack of availability.  Whereas farmers tend to buy maize seeds from commercial suppliers, 95 percent of all other kinds of seed are obtained from their own crops or those of fellow farmers.

Community spirit

Seed banks can help to solve this problem.

Community seed banks tend to work along the same lines as money banks: farmers take out loans of seeds, which in many cases are donated by the local community, and then repay the loan in kind with interest after they harvest their crops.

Seed banks typically consist of small dark rooms protected from the heat of the sun and filled with shelves of pots and bottles containing a wide range of indigenous seeds, including, in the case of Zimbabwe, millet, cowpeas and local varieties of maize.

According to an April 2017 paper on the evolution and role of seed banks in several countries around the world published by Development in Practice, such facilities help “enhance the resilience of farmers, in particular of communities and households most affected by climate change.”

This is because they can “secure improved access to, and availability of, diverse, locally adapted crops and varieties, and enhance related indigenous knowledge and skills in plant management” – including seed selection and distribution.

Jameson Patricia Muchenje, a smallholder farmer in the district of Rushinga, in Mashonaland Central Province, is a case in point.

“In our community we are working towards keeping and protecting our small grains from disappearing through our community seed bank,” she told IRIN. “We have been working together, teaching each other on planting the right seeds and use the best farming techniques.”

She added that she and other farmers in her neighbourhood were soon hoping to sell seeds from the seed bank “to enable us to get some income, which we can use to upgrade our seed bank infrastructure or start our income-generating projects such as market gardening or poultry projects."

Marjorie Jeke, a farmer in Murehwa District, in the neighbouring province of Mashonaland East said: "In the event that there are floods and our crops don’t do well in the field, the seed bank becomes useful as I will go back to the seed bank and retrieve my seeds for free to replant.

“I don’t have to struggle borrowing from neighbours, or to bother my children with money because the seed bank has made it easier for us to survive as farmers.”

Safety net

According to recent field research conducted by Oxfam in Zimbabwe, “access to the right seeds at the right time, and for the right price, is critical to being able to produce enough food to eat in the face of growing climate disruption.

“Farmer seed systems and community seed banks provide an important safety net for cash-strapped, vulnerable people,” the Oxfam report said. “Supporting them is an adaptation opportunity that is currently being missed.”

In September, the Community Technology Development Trust, an NGO based in Harare, opened a seed bank in Mudzi district. It was the fourth such facility it had set up, and several more are in the pipeline.

They are needed because “farmers are slowly losing their valuable indigenous crop seeds due to the vigorous promotion and growing of hybrid crop varieties, which concentrate on a small number of varieties designed for intensive farming,” CTDT Director Andrew Mushita said at the opening.

If Mushita has his way, seed banks, which he said cost around $20,000 each to set up, would be established in all of Zimbabwe’s rural districts.

The value of seed banks is clear, but Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector – despite its importance to economic growth – suffers from under funding.

Without sustained external support, there’s a risk that seed banks fall into disuse after the initial start-up financing runs out, the Development in Practice paper noted.

sn/am/oa

 

 

seeds_displayed_at_chimukoko_community_seed_fair_in_mudzi.jpg Analysis Solutions and Innovations Climate change Food Seed banks help Zimbabwe’s farmers tackle climate change Sally Nyakanyanga IRIN Mudzi Zimbabwe Africa Southern Africa Zimbabwe
Read More

Seed banks help Zimbabwe’s farmers tackle climate change

“Seed security is food security” is something of a mantra in developing world agronomy circles. In Zimbabwe, the adage is gradually being put into action by promoting the use of indigenous small grains threatened with extinction by the dominance of maize, both in fields and on dinner tables.

This dominance has left indigenous small seeds such as millet, cowpeas and sorghum as bit players in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, despite their greater resilience to weather shocks such as droughtwhich are occurring with increasing frequency and severity in Zimbabwe because of the effects of climate change.

Such small seeds also tend to require fewer of the expensive inputs required by commercial hybrid maize.

John Misi, the administrator of Mudzi District, in Mashonaland East Province, explained that getting farmers to use small grains “has been a challenge as maize is our staple food, and as such people are used to planting maize in this community.”

For example, most of the land farmed by Jameson Sithole, a smallholder in a marginal and dry area of Chipinge, in Manicaland Province, is planted with maize. He sows just two of his 17 hectares with indigenous small grains.

“Maize is a cash crop such that I am able to sell without challenges, helping me to send my 10 children to school and buy equipment for my farm,” he told IRIN. “With small grains it’s different. But l need to supplement my maize stocks when they run out and feed my family during drought.”

One hurdle standing in the way of greater use of indigenous seeds is their relative lack of availability.  Whereas farmers tend to buy maize seeds from commercial suppliers, 95 percent of all other kinds of seed are obtained from their own crops or those of fellow farmers.

Community spirit

Seed banks can help to solve this problem.

Community seed banks tend to work along the same lines as money banks: farmers take out loans of seeds, which in many cases are donated by the local community, and then repay the loan in kind with interest after they harvest their crops.

Seed banks typically consist of small dark rooms protected from the heat of the sun and filled with shelves of pots and bottles containing a wide range of indigenous seeds, including, in the case of Zimbabwe, millet, cowpeas and local varieties of maize.

According to an April 2017 paper on the evolution and role of seed banks in several countries around the world published by Development in Practice, such facilities help “enhance the resilience of farmers, in particular of communities and households most affected by climate change.”

This is because they can “secure improved access to, and availability of, diverse, locally adapted crops and varieties, and enhance related indigenous knowledge and skills in plant management” – including seed selection and distribution.

Jameson Patricia Muchenje, a smallholder farmer in the district of Rushinga, in Mashonaland Central Province, is a case in point.

“In our community we are working towards keeping and protecting our small grains from disappearing through our community seed bank,” she told IRIN. “We have been working together, teaching each other on planting the right seeds and use the best farming techniques.”

She added that she and other farmers in her neighbourhood were soon hoping to sell seeds from the seed bank “to enable us to get some income, which we can use to upgrade our seed bank infrastructure or start our income-generating projects such as market gardening or poultry projects."

Marjorie Jeke, a farmer in Murehwa District, in the neighbouring province of Mashonaland East said: "In the event that there are floods and our crops don’t do well in the field, the seed bank becomes useful as I will go back to the seed bank and retrieve my seeds for free to replant.

“I don’t have to struggle borrowing from neighbours, or to bother my children with money because the seed bank has made it easier for us to survive as farmers.”

Safety net

According to recent field research conducted by Oxfam in Zimbabwe, “access to the right seeds at the right time, and for the right price, is critical to being able to produce enough food to eat in the face of growing climate disruption.

“Farmer seed systems and community seed banks provide an important safety net for cash-strapped, vulnerable people,” the Oxfam report said. “Supporting them is an adaptation opportunity that is currently being missed.”

In September, the Community Technology Development Trust, an NGO based in Harare, opened a seed bank in Mudzi district. It was the fourth such facility it had set up, and several more are in the pipeline.

They are needed because “farmers are slowly losing their valuable indigenous crop seeds due to the vigorous promotion and growing of hybrid crop varieties, which concentrate on a small number of varieties designed for intensive farming,” CTDT Director Andrew Mushita said at the opening.

If Mushita has his way, seed banks, which he said cost around $20,000 each to set up, would be established in all of Zimbabwe’s rural districts.

The value of seed banks is clear, but Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector – despite its importance to economic growth – suffers from under funding.

Without sustained external support, there’s a risk that seed banks fall into disuse after the initial start-up financing runs out, the Development in Practice paper noted.

sn/am/oa

 

 

seeds_displayed_at_chimukoko_community_seed_fair_in_mudzi.jpg Analysis Solutions and Innovations Climate change Food Seed banks help Zimbabwe’s farmers tackle climate change Sally Nyakanyanga IRIN Mudzi Zimbabwe Africa Southern Africa Zimbabwe
Read More

In the midst of a Cash Crisis, More and More Zimbaweans are Turning to Bitcoin

By: Mako Muzenda on November 07, 2017

Paper money is everywhere. It’s a fundamental part of daily life, from loose change and coins, to large transactions and purchases. Although bank cards and online shopping are becoming more commonplace, it’s hard to imagine a society functioning without any kind of physical currency changing hands.

For people living in Zimbabwe however, it’s not that hard to imagine.

Bitcoin is experiencing a moment in Zimbabwe: in October alone, the country’s crypto currency exchange Golix handled transactions of up to $USD 1 million. It’s a big jump, given that the exchange handled $100 000 worth of transactions for the whole of 2016. To figure out why Bitcoin is becoming more and more popular, it’s important to know about Zimbabwe’s latest economic crisis, centred around the circulation of banknotes.

Zimbabwe has suffered from three major economic downturns in the last 17 years. The first started in the late 1990s, and from this initial inflation hike, things quickly went from bad to worse. Economic rock bottom hit between 2008 and 2009. Inflation reached 213 000 000% . The country’s currency (the Zimbabwean dollar) crashed and burned in terms of value, ushering three phases of redomination. First it was traveller’s cheques, then bearer cheques, then agro cheques, all of which failed. The then Governor of the Reserve Bank (RBZ), Gideon Gono, had to “slash” zeroes off the currency (first three zeroes, then 10) in order for the value to actually fit on the printed notes. It didn’t help.

At the height of the crisis, the largest banknote in circulation was at the value of 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars.

The introduction of the multi-currency system in 2009 brought some relief. Shelves were restocked. Prices went down. Although the economy was nowhere near fully functional, there was a sense of normalcy. That sense of normalcy halted with the introduction of bond notes in 2016. With an increasing shortage of US Dollars and South African Rands, the RBZ introduced bond notes as a solution. Instead of inspiring confidence, it sparked panic. The bond notes aren’t legal tender outside Zimbabwe, and promises that the value of 1 bond note was equal to 1 US Dollar evaporated as the bond notes rapidly devalued. Flashbacks to a valueless currency and massive queues for basic goods came back, and the little confidence left in banks plummeted. Daily withdrawals were initially limited to $50 per day. Then it dropped to $20 a day. Sending money outside the country and using your bank card outside Zimbabwe got harder and harder, when bank after bank limited money going out of the country. It was 2008 all over again.

Before the bond note crisis, discussions around crypto currency were for people in the know, not filtering into mainstream discourse. Now, with hard currency practically unavailable for private individuals, crypto currency began to look more and more appealing. Crypto currency was a better alternative than a non-currency whose value was steadily dropping.

Tinashe Jani is one of the people who has started trading in Bitcoin. He and his partner, Hillary Zuze, started Study263 on 10 September 2017. Jani, a Masters student at Rhodes University, is studying block-chain technology as part of his research in Information Systems. Zimbabwean students in South Africa have a next to impossible time getting money from home, and Jani saw an opportunity to combine his area of study with providing a service for students stuck in a foreign country with no money.

“When you start experiencing a problem and you’re stuck in a corner, you have to find a solution. For me, the solution was, “why don’t we start transferring money using Bitcoin?” Jani and Zuze had been trading in Bitcoin for months prior to the launch of their company, and using it as their crypto currency of choice was easy.

“It’s (Bitcoin) the most adopted crypto currency. The market cap right now is in billions, so it means it’s a more trusted currency. There are over a hundred crypto currencies on the market, but Bitcoin is the most valued. There’s a lot of trust and value in it.” For people living in a highly unstable economic environment, trust and value is key, explains Jani. Combined with the fact that there’s no need to go through a bank, and that transactions can take as little as 10 minutes, using crypto currency is an appealing avenue. No queues. No threat of inflation. No banknotes needed.

While it clearly has its benefits in a cash-strapped country (with some even putting Bitcoin forward as a replacement currency), is crypto currency the solution to Zimbabwe’s currency problems?

While the country has favorable conditions for Bitcoin to grow, Jani believes there’s still a long way to go until crypto currency becomes commonplace. “The fact that it uses different jargon from what people are used to is an issue. Even my own mother doesn’t know what crypto currency is and I’ve been studying it for years. The huge factor in people adopting this is them knowing about it.” There’s also technological access to consider. With Zimbabwe’s data penetration last registered at 50.1%, there’s the question of whether crypto currency will be able to help all Zimbabweans, or only those who can afford to access it.

Crypto currency may be an imperfect solution to Zimbabwe’s economic headache, but it’s been able to provide a vital service in a country where there’s less and less hard cash in circulation. It’s a decentralised structure that doesn’t rely on banks, a currency that isn’t affected the withdrawal limits and regulations, and a quick way to send and receive money beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

With no solid solution or plan in sight to provide a stable hard currency, Bitcoin is a saving grace for citizens tired of a banking system that’s failed.

Discussion

comments...

Read More

YPO Global Pulse: Business confidence in Africa up slightly in third quarter

YPO chief executives in South Africa report a more positive outlook JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov. 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — YPO, the premier leadership organisation for chief executives in the world, reported today that the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for Africa edged up 1.2 points to 57.5 in the third quarter of 2017 (3Q […]
Read More

Seaborn Networks et IOX Cable Ltd fournissent le premier itinéraire sous-marin entre les États-Unis et l’Inde via le Brésil et l’Afrique du Sud

L’alliance stratégique de Seabras-1 de Seaborn + SABR + IOX connectera trois pays BRICS et Maurice aux États-Unis BOSTON et MAURICE, le 6 novembre 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Seaborn Networks (« Seaborn ») et IOX Cable Ltd (« IOX ») ont annoncé ce jour avoir signé un accord de dimensionnement conjoint afin de fournir le premier itinéraire en fibre optique sous-marin de […]
Read More

Zimbabwe Online News is an interactive website which compiles all form of news and press releases for the visitors.

Read More!

Zimbabwe Online News Copyright © 2017