Small farmers can overcome climate change and feed the world – Zimbabwe farmer

ROME, (Reuters) – Like many small-scale farmers, Elizabeth Mpofu from drought-hit Zimbabwe has had to adapt her homestead to cope with a changing climate, which the United Nations says threatens to push millions globally into poverty and hunger.

She has found ways of adapting such as collecting and storing rainfall underground, and using mulch to lock moisture in the soil, which have kept her family comfortable despite living in southern Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province, one of the country’s driest regions.

Techniques like hers can feed the world, she said on the sidelines of an annual meeting of the Committee on World Food Security, a U.N. body which brings together governments, business leaders, farmers and food experts to review the global response to food security issues.

“We can feed our people, we can feed even the whole world through agroecology,” said Mpofu, who is general coordinator of La Via Campesina, a movement representing more than 200 million smallholder farmers.

Small farmers produce most of the food eaten in developing countries. Many are using agroecology techniques that include using natural methods to improve the soil and protect against pests.

La Via Campesina has more than 40 agroecology schools around the world, where farmers gather to share ideas and experiences in adapting to the changing climate.

“We know this is the best solution to climate change,” Mpofu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The committee gathered in Rome this week is looking at high-yielding crop and cattle breeds and the intensification of farming as one way to help reduce poverty in rural areas and to feed a growing population.

Some of the farmers present fear this will sideline their methods of farming and centuries of know-how, and may worsen their lives.

“What is going to be the life of a peasant without his or her own indigenous species?” Mpofu said.

“I don’t know how to keep those new (cattle) species they want to bring. They are very expensive to take care of, they have to have food, medicine to cure these animals,” she said.

Drought forced Mpofu to limit her cattle numbers, but her goats, sheep, guinea fowl and other livestock continue to grow.

She said farmers using traditional techniques managed to grow enough to feed their families through the drought.

“We are growing a diversity of small grains which are doing very well in this climate change,” Mpofu said.

“But for those farmers who are really focused more on hybrid seeds … not really considering the weather conditions, then all (their) crops were gone,” she said.

 

Related Posts
Robert Mugabe slates Tony Blair over land reform programme
PRETORIA - The Zimbabwean president was charming and defiant on a state visit to South Africa, accusing the former British Prime Minister of reneging on promises to fund redistribution.   Robert Mugabe ...
READ MORE
Zuma calls for SADC special summit on drought
Pretoria – The current drought and water shortages ravaging members states of the Southern Africa Development Community can be better dealt with if regional leaders convened a special summit on ...
READ MORE
Zimbabwe braces for another drought
A Zimbabwean minister has warned that most parts of the country will receive below normal rainfall during the 205/16 season that starts this month. The country is reeling from effects of ...
READ MORE
Dairy producers say able to meet local demand
HARARE,– Zimbabwean dairy farmers say they have the capacity to meet the country’s dairy requirements and that a ban on the importation of finished dairy products will not result in ...
READ MORE
Zimbabwe in water crisis
THE country’s major dams in all catchment areas are running dry, with national dam levels last week said to be fast receding to crisis levels. The development threatens to wreck the ...
READ MORE
Zimbabwe braces for storms, floods
HARARE - Thousands of people are at risk as Zimbabwe braces for devastating storms and floods which weather forecasters say could leave a trail of destruction in three provinces which ...
READ MORE
Another disastrous farming season beckons for Zimbabwe
IF southern Africa, especially Zimbabwe, still doubts that climate change is now the new normal, then the region would forever starve. Predictions for the 2016/17 agricultural season point to an early start ...
READ MORE
Magic of maggots means survival for many poultry farmers in Zimbabwe
HARARE — Lovemore Kuwana cheerily lifts the lid of a container full of fresh maggots in his backyard, which he will feed to the poultry he keeps once the worms ...
READ MORE
Zambia flags off food aid to Malawi and Zimbabwe
Government has today started dispatching 48,000 metric tonnes (MT) of relief food to Malawi and Zimbabwe as part of the U$D2.4 billion Southern African Development Community (SADC) humanitarian appeal for ...
READ MORE
Tobacco industry under threat, farmers warn
Tobacco farmers have sent a warning to authorities that they will not be able to go back to the fields if low prices persist at the auction floors. The farmers warned ...
READ MORE
Robert Mugabe slates Tony Blair over land reform
Zuma calls for SADC special summit on drought
Zimbabwe braces for another drought
Dairy producers say able to meet local demand
Zimbabwe in water crisis
Zimbabwe braces for storms, floods
Another disastrous farming season beckons for Zimbabwe
Magic of maggots means survival for many poultry
Zambia flags off food aid to Malawi and
Tobacco industry under threat, farmers warn

Arts & Entertainment