Drip irrigation pipes laid out in the garden
Supported By Undp-Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme
The Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEFSGP) in Zimbabwe came into existence in 1993 after the 1992 Rio-Earth Summit to provide financial and technical support to Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who wish to conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods. The GEFSGP supports environmental projects under five thematic areas that include biodiversity protection, climate change mitigation, protection of international waters, reversing land degradation and elimination of chemicals.
Biotechnology Trust of Zimbabwe (BTZ) Project in Hwedza
In the wake of severe recurrent droughts in Zimbabwe that have been attributed to climate change which has caused dramatic and devastating changes in weather patterns across the globe, BTZ project under Wedza district has not been spared. As if this is not enough, the 2015-2016 El Niño effect has resulted in severe high temperatures across the country. Of the 172 projects funded by GEFSGP across Zimbabwe, 17% of the project portfolio is on Climate Change mitigation and resilience and one of these is BTZ in Mawire Ward 4, Hwedza District, Mashonaland East Province. Hwedza District has experienced the devastating effects of climate change such as erratic rainfall and very high temperatures which have crippled agricultural production in this region that is strongly dependent on agriculture for food and income generation. Through funding from GEFSGP, BTZ initiated a project on climate change mitigation and resilience through reforestation and installation of solar powered irrigation for sustainable livelihoods. The project is benefiting 30 households constituting of 81 male and 121 female beneficiaries.
Different crops under production
BTZ project results Provision of solar powered drip irrigation
One of the major activities to promote climate change mitigation was the establishment of solar powered drip irrigation in Mawire ward 4. The solar powered drip irrigation covers a total area of 4.2 hectares benefiting the 30 households (81 males and 121 females) through agriculture. The drip irrigation system comprises of 3 x 10 000L plastic water tanks in the community garden that are fed water from an 18/2000 solar powered water pump which pumps 60 000 litres a day. This solar system is part of an initiative to promote the use of sustainable renewable energy in agriculture.
Besides the solar technology, the project beneficiaries have put up drip irrigation that helps in managing the water more efficiently. To date the project has been able to produce organic horticultural products with an average per farmer of 87 bundles of green vegetables, 3x50kg pockets of butternuts, 1 ox-drawn cut (450kgs) of butternuts, 8×20 litre buckets of tomatoes, and 12 x 10 Litre buckets (120kgs) of okra. per each planting season.
Storage tanks installed at the garden and The solar system that has been set up
The project has helped to build resilience by ensuring a reliable supply of water that has enabled the project to enhance food security. The community is now producing its own healthy organic agricultural products for home consumption and surplus for selling in an environment where people in the region are enduring a dry spell. Hence the project has helped in averting hunger through increasing food availability not just for the beneficiaries but all other community members that buy the products. In terms of income, there is an average of US$100.00 per household per month. Such income is then used to pay school fees, meeting health needs among other financial needs.
Project members erecting fence and laying pipes for drip irrigation
Establishment of woodlots
The project being an environment conservation project mainly focusing on Climate Change mitigation has also established two woodlots measuring 2 hectares each, one for gum trees and the other for Msasa trees. With support from forestry commission, the project has to date raised 1200 gum trees and 750 Msasa trees survived. These newly planted trees revive the degraded natural woodland and prevent further degradation. The trees also help in terms of carbon sequestration. On the whole, project by BTZ demonstrates how issues of climate change can be tackled in an integrated manner in terms of mitigation and building resilience for enhancing livelihoods.