ZIMBABWE – The Agriculture Research Council of Zimbabwe (ARCZ) has joined forces with the African Centre for Fertiliser Development (ACFD) and the Frontline Institute to enhance food security in the country.

The trio have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in areas of food production, value addition as well as water purification and water harvesting technologies, repots the Herald.

ARCZ chief executive and ACFD managing director Dr Isaiah Mharapara said: “our organisation is committed to working with this institute in various training programmes.”

“We want to train communities on grey water purification and water harvesting technologies, as water will soon become a scarce commodity. Communities need to learn how to use it efficiently.

“We also want to train communities on tree planting, production of organic manure, food production experiments and researches on food security. Other fields will open up as we work together.

“We have carried out a baseline survey in this community with the objective of promoting smart agriculture in the fight against the effects of climate change and global warming.”

Development Aid from People to People Frontline Institute (DAPP) in Bindura South is training students to utilise waste materials to make rope and washer pumps to boost smallholder agricultural productivity. 

The institute, which attracts students from as far afield as Asia, South America and other parts of Southern Africa, is now a centre of excellence for low-cost water technologies that can be used to transform the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. 

“We are promoting this simple innovation to help cut costs for smallholder farmers. We are training our students to shift from reliance on outside solutions to utilising locally available resources for the benefit of local communities,” said DAPP Frontline Institute’s principal Doubt Musiwa. 

Smallholder farmers play a critical role in the country’s food and nutrition security, accounting for the bulk of the country’s food output. However, they often lack appropriate technologies to harness water to increase their agricultural production. 

FAO experts say it is important for policymakers to focus on efforts that increase the overall efficiency of water use by the agricultural sector to improve food security and tackle hunger. 

Promoting the use of simple labour saving technologies potentially presents a solution to problems facing smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe and across many African countries.