In Zimbabwe, the way out of poverty leads through indigenous plants: For example, the drought-resistant Baobab has particularly nutritious fruits. Nevertheless, the market value often remains unrecognized. Therefore, Hilfswerk International supports the identification, cultivation, harvesting and marketing of indigenous and drought-resistant plants to ensure food security and to accompany the African country on its way out of poverty.
Hilfswerk International launched its first project for people in Zimbabwe in 1998. Since then, we have been coordinating projects from all over the country. Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in the world: Hunger is widespread mainly because of recurrent drought periods: The population also suffers from extreme economic difficulties and a high unemployment rate which is estimated at 90% - Development actions are urgently needed.
Hilfswerk International currently has two main focuses in Zimbabwe: The hunger assistance during and after the drought as well as the creation of long-term food security.
But in the past months it was particularly heavy. Fields were dried up, wells were dead, livestock died. The cultivation of seed was unthinkable. People were starving, children suffered particularly from the drought. In the particularly bad time, Hilfswerk International provided 795 students with food at a primary school in the Kariba district. The contributed food packages consisted of oatmeal, rice, peanut butter and instant mahewu. In the long term, the cultivation, harvesting and marketing of drought-resistant plants will ensure comprehensive food security:
Those which can live with little water and under extremely unfriendly conditions. One example for such plants is Baobab. Baobab is native in Zimbabwe. The up to 15-meter-high tribe of the Baobab tree consists of spongy fibers, which store a lot of water and thus keep the tree alive also through longer dry seasons. This root system also contributes to its amazing drought resistance. The powder made from its fruits is considered to be particularly nutritious.
Hilfswerk International supports the Zimbabwean farmers in creating the infrastructure for the processing and marketing of Baobab and similar plants. We also help with the cultivation of dry food such as chili, sesame or Moringa. Local farmers are trained to help themselves, so that Baobab, Chili, Sesame and Moringa can be harvested and sold by the local population in the long term. In addition to income opportunities for families, this leads to food security and economic development for the entire region. We train thousands of farmers in sustainable agriculture and in various processing methods. In a next step, we ensure market access for these products and develop marketing strategies.
We contribute to long-term food security and provide farmers with income for a self-determined life without poverty. Through this project the income per household has increased from 30 to 150 US dollars per month within our group of beneficiaries. To a large extent this money is spent by the families for their children’s school fees.
Since November 2013, 6820 people have been trained in the cultivation, harvesting, drying and sale of indigenous plants. These trainings have the effect of avoiding, among other things, product contamination. 4030 people were taken under contract and they were able find employment through our private sector project, and 29 new products have so far been introduced to the market.
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