Blessing Rwizi Farming Correspondent
CHIMANIMANI-BASED Chikukwa Ecological Land Use Community Trust is educating farmers in Manicaland and Masvingo on the benefits of practicing permaculture.
Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centred on simulating or directly utilising the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. It is the maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.
Usually it increases yields, reduces pollution, reduces waste and brings about the sense of self-reliance, among others.
Speaking during an inter-provincial exchange visit to Bikita last week, CELUCT sustainable agriculture programme manager, Mr Julious Piti, said: “For the past 26 years, the trust has been promoting permaculture for the enhancement of food security in Chimanimani. It is therefore a good thing that permaculture goes beyond Chimanimani or Manicaland so that livelihoods are easily and naturally changed in the drought prone areas.
“Farmers should practice good water and land management so that we harvest from the top, surface and underground. In that case, farmers should grow fruit trees like mangoes, oranges and bananas in our gardens or fields so that we harvest from the top. In that same area, we should grow crops like vegetables, beans and tomatoes as well as root crops like carrots, sweet potatoes and potatoes. This makes our yields very high,” he said.
A total of 22 farmers from wards 10 and 11 of Chimanimani East and their Agritex officers participated during the tour of wards 20 and 21 of Bikita District. The visit was aimed at exchanging ideas on permaculture, community seed banks and village servings and lending (mukando), among other ways to change farmers’ livelihoods in drought prone areas.
Chikukwa Agritex officer, Mr Tendai Munamato, called on farmers to use organic manure as they are cheap, easy to access, improve soil fertility and have less risk to plants.
CELUCT is a community organisation that was established in 1991 and was registered as a Trust in 1996 aimed at promoting food security in Chikukwa community which is made up of eight villages in wards 10 and 11.
It is now a permaculture training centre that is receiving international and local visitors as well as interns who want to learn more about permaculture as a model to address rural poverty and inequality through dialogue aimed at facilitating good leadership in the community.
Chikukwa’s population stands at 7 000 from about 600 households. An estimated 5 000 people are benefiting from CELUCT projects being done in the area.