Conservation farming

Conservation farming

Title of project:Improving quality of life through responsive crop production technologies and integration of health among poor and vulnerable households in Chimanimani and Chipinge.

Funder:Bread for the world

Year started & Ending:   2013-2016

Goal of project 


•Strengthen low input agricultural approaches leads to increased food production for households affected by HIV

•Increasing capacity of CBOs/NGOs improves HIV service delivery and leads to stable organisational structures

•Promoting the SAVE prevention approach increases health seeking behaviours and HIV positive women make use of PMTCT.

Area of operation: Manicaland Chimanimani (ward 22 and 23), Chipinge (Ward 9 and 14)

Target population: People Living with HIV, men and small scale farmers

Number of beneficiaries reached so far: 295 people (110 Females and 85 males)

Critical achievements in 2015 (both output and outcome level) 

  • Food security

Farmers in Zimbabwe are faced with a myriad of crop production challenges emanating from effects of climate change and land degradation. While the effects cut across agro-ecological zones, they are more pronounced in regions III to V. These regions have experienced erratic and low rainfall reducing options for rain fed agriculture. Poor production practices have eroded the bulk of the soil and reduced soil fertility. The two operational districts (Chipinge and Chimanimani) experience similar challenges.

Due to FACT`s interventions, 44.7% households managed to increase their maize output by 60% in the 2014/2015 cropping season. This has been as a result of improved capacity of farmers to respond to these negative effects affecting crop productivity. A farmer field school approach was used to promote Conservation Agriculture. Each of the participating farmers (295) was given an input pack to implement the technology on their plots for the current season. Additionally, the project trained lead famers on crop processing and storage and conducted two exchange visits to exposed farmers on crop production processes. 295 farmers received maize production inputs for the 2015-2016 season and 80% of them have managed to prepare their land early.

  • Nutrition

9.3% of the households have increased the number of food types consumed by 70%. Dietary diversity in 2015 was characterized by low food availability and hence limited food diversity consumed by our target group. In 2015, FACT conducted seven trainings on gardening, vegetable processing and preservation in collaboration with AGRITEX for 185 farmers. A total of four garden field days were conducted for more than 240 farmers to show case good practices in vegetable production.

Generally, food types that are less consumed (fish, eggs and meat) require money for one to consume and yet they have limited sources of income. Most of the households are not producing small livestock at levels where they can comfortably consume them.

  • CBO support

FACT has been working with 39 support groups and 82% of them have improved their organizational systems by 60%. A scorecard has been used to measure management processes. Support group management has been improved through capacity building of leadership representatives in the following areas: governance, communication and documentation.

Four trainings were conducted for group leaders on Internal Savings and Lending for 30 group leaders. Four groups in Chipinge and ten groups in Chimanimani have engaged in ISALs with an average of $800 per group. The group leaders were trained on start up to dissolution of the groups with much emphasis on financial management. In collaboration with other FACT projects, most members have started their own livelihood projects from the money they borrowed from the group which include, grinding mill operation and tuck shop establishment. Some have managed to acquire assets like a plough, cattle and building brick houses.

Through support from caregivers and mentor mothers in the two districts, most HIV pregnant women managed to complete their PMTCT visits. They understood the importance of the visits and out of care for the unborn child, 96% (50 out of 52) of the HIV pregnant women who registered for antenatal clinic completed PMTCT visits. This shows that the caregivers and mentor mothers are able to reach most pregnant women in their villages supporting them to complete their PMTCT visits.

  • SAVE Prevention

Four male forums were conducted reaching 255 men in both districts through sport. The men had a health talk before the games began and HIV testing facilities were made available. Only 12% of the targeted men were tested and 62% utilized HIV prevention measures which include male circumcision and family planning services from the local clinics.

4 trainings were conducted with 39 support groups on PMTCT, family planning and TasP. Distributions of family planning materials like condoms were done to all members present. Most women collected the male condoms instead of the female condoms because they are more familiar with them than the female condoms. Demonstrations on how to use them were done making it more interesting for the women when they learnt that they could wear the condom hour’s prior to sexual intercourse.

IEC materials which include a banner, flyers on PMTCT and male involvement, facts on PMTCT and posters on male involvement and PMTCT were developed. The IEC material awaits printing and distribution in the respective districts.