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United States Embassy

PRESS RELEASE

Partnership program increases food security and incomes for over 8,000 smallholder farmers by commercializing indigenous plants

Harare, Zimbabwe 4 December 2014. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union, Hilfwerk Austria, Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe, Kaite Trust, Organic Africa and other stakeholders celebrated a partnership that has led to increased food security and incomes for farmers in dry land areas of Zimbabwe. The partnership’s support for this project, which ends this month, has been instrumental in commercializing wild-growing and high value plants. Over the past three years, this project assisted more than 8,000 smallholder farmers to commercialize, collect, and grow underutilized indigenous plants in dry land areas.

The goal of the project was to commercialize underutilized plants, indigenous to Zimbabwe, as a means to increase food security and incomes for smallholder farmers in dry areas. Project partners worked with women and men farmers to teach them harvesting and production skills and linked them to sustainable commercial markets. The project focused on two sectors, wild-growing and high-value plants including baobab, devil’s claw, rosella, and chili peppers. Activities included product and market development, farmer and wild collector training, and support to obtain Fair Trade and organic certifications. Hilfwerk Austria, Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe, Kaite, and Organic Africa implemented the USAID and EU-funded project.

The program increased the average income of over 8,000 participating smallholder farmers from $30 per month to $98 per month. Farmers are using this additional income to buy food for their families, pay for school fees and uniforms for their children, and buy livestock. Farmers’ households with moderate or severe hunger decreased from 23% in 2012 to 17% in May 2013.

USAIDZimbabwe Mission Director Melissa Williams commented, “USAID is proud to have been able to co-support this indigenous plant program to increase food security and incomes for Zimbabwean farmers in dry areas. The program demonstrated that the sustainable harvesting of under-utilized species and cultivation of high-value crops can successfully generate incomes for disaantaged farmers and contribute to Zimbabwe’s food security.”

Jorge Pereiro Pintildeoacuten, Head of the Social Sectors section at the EU Delegation remarked. “This programme has proved that the partnership between civil society organizations and private sector can achieve outstanding results for communities even in the most marginalized areas. This is an approach that the EU will follow in its future support to natural resources management.”

Source : United States Embassy

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