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Stories from the Field

Visit the Farms of Siphiwe and Pedro in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe!

By Hannah Payne on March 23, 2023

Real, sustainable solutions to end hunger do exist. In Gokwe North, Zimbabwe, Rise Against Hunger and ADRA International have been working with local communities to support long-term food security, school attendance and economic growth through the Planting Seeds for Strong Communities project.

The project worked with community members, school leaders and local farmers to develop a home-grown school feeding program for five local schools and increase crop yields throughout the community. Farmers received farmer market and climate-smart agricultural training as well as access to grain shelling and oil pressing equipment. 

Today we’re sharing the stories of two of these farmers — Siphiwe and Pedro. As participants in the project, both have increased their crop yields and are supporting their families.  

Siphiwe, a farmer and mother in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe

As a wife and mother, Siphiwe’s family is very important to her and, by selling cooking oil pressed from her sunflower crops, she has been adding to her family’s household income and improving their quality of living. 

Siphiwe and her husband used to exclusively grow cotton on their farm. But after the cotton market collapsed, they expanded their crops to include sunflowers, a focus crop of the Planting Seeds for Strong Communities project. Siphiwe has since seen an influx of income opportunities. Through the project, she learned how to convert the sunflower crops into cooking oil using an oil-pressing machine in her community. “I farm my sunflowers on half an acre, and this year I managed to get 32 buckets of sunflowers,” she said.

Siphiwe sells the cooking oil and other sunflower plant by-products to the community. With the income, she can now cover her children’s school tuition fees where they receive nutritious, locally sourced meals. She’s empowering other women in her community, too. 

Watch the video below to hear more about Siphiwe’s resilience and commitment to her family. 

Pedro, a farmer in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe

Like many farmers in the Gokwe North region of Zimbabwe, Pedro has faced reduced crop yields due to persistent droughts. This led to food insecurity and challenges in feeding his family of six. Through the Planting Seeds for Strong Communities project, he learned about Zai pits, a farming technique where pits are dug and filled with organic materials to improve soil nutrients, rehabilitate dry soils and retain more water.  

Since he began using the Zai pit farming method, his crop yields have increased and he’s become a lead farmer in his community. Other farmers have started visiting his farm to learn from him. He’s using his harvest to provide meals for his family, the local primary school and the community. 

In the video below, hear from Pedro firsthand about how the initiative has changed lives in his community. You can also learn more about the Zai pit farming method he uses here.  

Pedro and Siphiwe are helping to build resilience toward long-term food security in their communities. And they are just two of the 3,000 farmers supported through our Planting Seeds for Strong Communities project. To support the work to end food insecurity and build resilience in global communities around the world, donate today.