Neighbors Benefit by Watching Program Farmers
A recent communication from Mwenezi proudly reports 130 known “spontaneous adopters” alongside the 370 participant farmers, all whom are benefiting from practicing conservation agriculture (CA) techniques. The adopters are neighbors of registered participants who observe farm activities like mulching and planting in holes, see results, ask questions, and decide to try the techniques on their own land. This spirit of collaboration and learning among farmers improves community resiliency and encourages continual learning to overcome challenges.
In the words of the local partner, SCORE, “Researchers and extension workers often fear that farmers will not be able to understand crop behavior and make the right decisions based on lessons from trial plots. But we’ve seen that they are in fact able to make good observations, explain the cause-and-effect relationships, and come up with agronomically and economically sound recommendations.” And pass on what they learn to others, encouraging them to experiment, too.
SCORE says the incentive for all the farmers is knowledge about more effective farming techniques. Whether at demo plots or looking over a neighbor’s shoulder, they are achieving better outcomes; so much so that spontaneous adopters are showing up in areas that aren’t even part of the program. This program has strong income generation, savings, and marketing components. When farmers are assured of markets, it is easy for them to consider adopting new technologies that can help them produce more.
As SCORE puts it, “We promote a sustainable farming system that is based on mutual trust and ownership amongst the farmers themselves.”
Thanks to Your Support and Generosity
- Farmers and their neighbors are earning incomes by learning, saving money and marketing produce together
- Effective practices, farmer-to-farmer support, and encouragement from program staff offer farmers alternatives during a time of increasing drought, political instability and hyper-inflation in Zimbabwe
- Because the work is not tied to the government but overseen by local leaders, it will continue in spite of government challenges
Zimbabwe Mwenezi Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner SCORE Against Poverty