52-year-old Lethiwe Moyo has been working hard alongside Dabane Trust (our partner in Zimbabwe) to take on agroecological training and improve her farming. Hear her story.

Lethiwe (pictured) hails from Matobo District in southern Zimbabwe, an area which faces erratic rainfall with long mid-season dry spells often followed by flash floods. All of this takes place in a region that already suffers from poor/infertile soils that lead to low crop yields. Despite this, communities depend on rain-fed agriculture and typically harvest low yields. In response, farmers supported by Dabane have adopted various agroecology practices to promote soil moisture conservation for increased crop yields.

“The project trained us in a way that we can now provide for our families and have surplus to sell to neighbours. This has boosted my sense of dignity and social status in my area. I’m now an independent woman who does not rely on her husband for basic commodities.”

Lethiwe Moyo, farmer from Matobo District, Zimbabwe.

Before the introduction of the training, Lethiwe used to cultivate her land using a donkey drawn plough that was shared among different family members. Sharing of the plough delayed the planting exercise forcing Lethiwe to postpone the commencement of her own farming. As a result she would harvest low yields of approximately 5x50kg bags of sorghum. The harvested crop could not sustain her family until the next farming season thus forcing her to over-rely on her spouse who used to do casual labour in neighbouring South Africa.

“In a hectare planted I used to get 5x50kg bags of sorghum only which was too little to feed my family”, professed Lethiwe. 

Lethiwe took on the agricultural training in 2017 and never looked back.

In 2019 she reported harvesting a diverse range of crops including 10x50kg bags of sorghum, 15x50kg bags of pearl millet, 7x50kg bags of unshelled ground nuts and 6x50kg bags of cow peas, in turn improving household diet and nutrition - and all despite the low erratic rainfall in the area.

The trainings have empowered Lethiwe to practice various agroecology activities such as basin planting, mulching, infiltration trenches and developing pits in her fields that promote soil moisture conservation; leading to increased crop yields and thus enhancing household food security.

An increase in crop yields has meant that Lethiwe is able to sell surplus to community members in her area. And the income generated has allowed her to purchase productive assets such as three donkeys and seven goats as well as pay school fees for her daughter who is doing her second year at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Teachers College in Gwanda. 

“The project trained us in a way that we can now provide for our families and have surplus to sell to neighbours. This has boosted my sense of dignity and social status in my area. I’m now an independent woman who does not rely on her husband for basic commodities,” explained Lethiwe. 

She continued: “In addition to that, the project trained us on small livestock rearing and the income generated from the sales has enabled me to pay various fees, medication and buy more basic commodities. This year I sold 40 chickens and used the money to purchase household utensils. My life is a living testimony that agroecology works and yields better results.”

Want to help us support dryland communities in Zimbabwe and have your donations DOUBLED? Find out more about our 2020 Big Give Christmas Challenge