Gardening programs are transforming Byo – NewsDay Zimbabwe

GARDENING programs in high-density areas of Bulawayo have transformed the livelihoods of hundreds of the city’s unemployed residents.

The Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) funds the project and provides a platform where residents share ideas for improving agriculture.

Speaking at an MIHR event in Bulawayo on Friday, Sizinda Community Garden Vice President Isan Mare said that since locals ventured into vegetable gardening, they never looked backward.

“We started in 2014 with a few residents, but over time we have grown to 90. We are now happy to have 120 residents growing nutritious vegetables for food and commercial purposes.

“Currently we have 10 water taps that are solar powered with 12 residents sharing one tap. Residents rotated in groups to ensure everyone has a chance to access water,” Mare said.

“We also have a commercial farm on the other side which is strictly for commercial purposes and everything we grow on this farm is for sale and then we split the profits,” he added.

One resident, Tracy Mare, said farming is now her way of life.

“I have been a farmer since 2014. Farming is now my home where I can be financially free and able to afford, maintain my home and develop new projects. As residents, it is important to share ideas about farming and we hope that over time we can expand our agricultural area and increase production,” Mare said.

Siphatheleni Farm President Alice Kadzima of Pumula said the current economic crisis is pushing more residents to find sustainability in farming.

“We have residents who are ready to join the irrigation system and it is a great achievement when we embrace these initiatives as a community,” Kadzima said.

MIHR coordinator Khumbulani Maphosa said, “We will provide a solar-powered water pump, useful for commercial agriculture. We will also train residents on the governance of the gardens, a constitution that would enable and guide day-to-day operations while providing links to the marketplace. »

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Terri S. Tomasini