Drought, heat and aridity: small farmers in Zimbabwe are suffering from the effects of climate change. With our projects promoting sustainable agriculture and chicken breeding, we ensure food security and help people to build livelihoods for themselves for the long term.
“Help has supported me with setting up my business. I received laying hens and training in chicken breeding and egg production. By selling the eggs, I can finish my family’s house and pay for my children’s schooling,” Maria from Zimbabwe
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A race against the clock
Each year people in Zimbabwe are suffering more and more from the effects of climate change. The El Niño weather phenomenon is the reason behind this: it causes long droughts and heatwaves that destroy farmers’ harvests. Rainfall is very uneven and causes severe flooding that swamps roads, houses and fields. This fluctuation between drought and floods threatens Zimbabweans’ livelihoods because 92 per cent of households depend on the harvests.
The weak economy and political instability result in high unemployment and few opportunities to earn a secure income. Over 60 per cent of the population live below the poverty line. For many years Zimbabwe was considered the breadbasket of Africa. But due to climate change and economic mismanagement, it is now dependent on humanitarian aid.
Diversity as the key to independence
All our projects in Zimbabwe help people to overcome the effects of climate change. We focus on supporting small farmers in the rural regions of the country. We distribute seeds that grow well in dry soil and provide training on saving water when growing vegetables.
Diversity is our approach to combating poverty. We have trained over 3,000 farmers in chicken breeding and provided them with laying hens. These small farmers can feed their families with the eggs they produce or offer them for sale. We also support them with marketing. Selling honey is another good trade in Zimbabwe. Thanks to Help, over 700 small farmers are now raising their own bee colonies. Alongside regular food, this also gives people a secure income, and they have enough money to pay for things such as school fees and medical bills.
An important aspect of our work is known as the imitation effect. Small farmers who complete our training courses in chicken breeding and soil cultivation often generate three times as much as others. They then share their knowledge with their neighbours and become models for their communities. This increases the impact of our work.
- Over 1 million people in rural regions do not have a secure food supply
- 27% of children are underdeveloped due to malnutrition
- 63% of Zimbabweans live below the poverty line
- Zimbabwe is ranked 2nd in the global index of countries most at risk from climate change
Sources: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Federal Foreign Office (AA)
- Helped over 30,000 people grow sufficient harvests
- Trained 1,700 small farmers in water-conserving agricultural methods. They then share their knowledge with their neighbours
- Founded 15 committees to market harvests at fair prices
- Trained 3,000 farmers in chicken breeding and provided them with materials to build chicken coops. They now have a secure income from the sale of eggs
- Provided over 1,700 pupils with training on sustainable agriculture and raised their awareness of environmental issues and climate change
- Trained 798 small farmers as beekeepers