Our impact Stories Improving livelihoods in Zimbabwe with agroecology Meet Anastacia, a farmer from a rural community in southern Zimbabwe, who Dabane Trust (our partner in the region) are supporting to develop simple, appropriate and sustainable water abstraction and food production systems. Anastacia Dube (pictured) is a 43-year-old proud farmer from Matobo District who has been supported with agroecology and a recently introduced poultry production project which she affirms has changed her life for the better. She is now a lead farmer in her community, responsible for 23 other farmers. “I think the increase in yields was as a result of the agroecology training which promotes sustainable agricultural practices for improved crop yields, diet and wellbeing. Before the infiltration pits, my field never used to hold water and there was a lot of run-off but this has since changed.”Anastacia Dube, farmer from Matobo District, Zimbabwe. Before she pursued agroecological practices though, Dube used to cultivate her land using a donkey drawn plough. This would only reap yields that barely catered for her family's sustenance because of the slow farming method, and a terrain that was prone to severe rainwater run-off. She says: “I would grow sorghum, millet, maize and round nuts. I could not afford to sell the yields because they could only sustain my family. For instance, I would get 4x50kg bags of maize, and five small bags of sorghum and millet in a good year.” Anastacia compares the yields from before and says she is glad she joined the ‘Promoting Resilient Livelihoods and Women Empowerment’ project introduced by Dabane: “The project introduced conservation agriculture to us and I have been practising it for two years now.” As a result she says she was able to harvest 16x50kg bags of sorghum, 15x50kg bags of millet, 7x50kg bags of round nuts and 4x50kg bags of cow peas. Anastacia further attributed the positive changes of her harvest to the water harvesting techniques that she adopted which included creating infiltration trenches and pits in order to reduce water run-off in her fields. This subsequently increased soil moisture retention in her fields. “I think the increase in yields was as a result of the agroecology training which promotes sustainable agricultural practices for improved crop yields, diet and wellbeing. Before the infiltration pits, my field never used to hold water and there was a lot of run-off but this has since changed,” she said. Anastacia has also showcased her crop yields at seed and food fairs and has won prizes for good produce. She participated at the Matobo processing centre market fair where she showcased various indigenous seed varieties that are drought-tolerant and hence adaptable to the local environment. Her prizes included hand ploughs, axles, as well as decorative plates and cups. Through income generated from the sale of surplus crop yields, Anastacia has gone on to construct a chicken run as a strategy to diversify from rain fed agriculture and strengthen her resilience to the impacts of climate change in the area. “Last year I sold surplus and generated income to build my chicken run for my indigenous chicken project. The project is progressing well and is proving to be another reliable source of income”. She sold 40 out of the 60 indigenous chickens at $5 each and got money to extend the chicken run so that she can increase the number of chickens she rears. A tour around Anastacia's fields revealed that there are also many fruit trees she has planted and these include, lemon, orange, mango and papaya. These will help in good nutrition for her family and even be another source of income in due course. Please consider making a donation to Excellent so we can empower families in drylands to feed themselves and transform their own lives with sand dams Please select a donation amount (required) £15 could provide a dryland farmer with drought-tolerant seeds, to grow a reliable source of fresh food for their children £30 could supply a community with a rake, gardening fork, shovel and watering cans, to plant trees for fruit, fuel and fodder £60 could provide a community with a roll of barbed wire, to reinforce and strengthen their sand dam during construction Other Set up a regular payment Donate Excellent Development would like to thank the Isle of Man Government for their funding and support of our sand dam projects in Zimbabwe.