A harvest oasis in drought-affected southern Africa

Monday, November 08, 2021
Our News

While we frequently celebrate the strong harvests of Canadian farmers, it’s not everyday we’re able to do so for vulnerable farmers we work with around the world. However, in light of phenomenal harvests enjoyed by Foodgrains Bank supported farmers in Zimbabwe and Malawi this past harvest season, we wanted to share the good news with you, and invite you to share in the joy of our global neighbours.

For Velina Siapani of Zingozo village, Zimbabwe, it’s been the growing season of her dreams. She harvested triple what she did the previous year. “This was a bountiful season for me, as compared to the 2019-2020 agriculture season,” she explains.

Velina is a lead farmer on a project of our member Mennonite Central Committee Canada that’s implemented locally by partner Kulima Mbobumi Training Centre (KMTC). That means she learns new agricultural techniques, then shares them with her friends and community members.

“I used this money to pay for my child’s school fees who is at A ‘Level’,” she says.

Velina is also a keen businesswomen. “I intend to trade my buckets of millet for goats in order to add to my existing herd,” she says.

For Lilian Zheke, a Foodgrains Bank conservation agriculture technical advisor based in southern Africa, strong harvests are welcome and exciting news. Lilian works with our members’ locally-based partners, supporting farmers in southern Africa and designing projects that are context specific and as effective as possible.

“A significant number of project participants will have enough cereal to take them throughout the greater part of the year,” she says. It is no small feat considering farm families aren’t just up against weather challenges, but COVID-19 restrictions, rapid inflation, and other barriers. In a livelihood where uncontrollable conditions can mean the difference between life and death, strong harvests are truly something to celebrate.

Written by Amanda Thorsteinsson, Senior Communications Officer.

This story was featured in the Fall 2021 Breaking Bread. Download or order your copy here.

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