BY STAFF REPORTER
THE British government, through its humanitarian arm, UKAid, has injected about US$1,9 million in a project aimed at staving off hunger among 2 640 food insecure households in Bulilima and Gwanda districts.
The project, being implemented by Practical Action over the next three years, seeks to enhance food and nutritional security in the two districts through adoption of agroecology, solar irrigation systems and access to finance and markets.
At least 70% of the targeted beneficiaries are women smallholder farmers.
Speaking at the project launch in Plumtree last week, Practical Action’s programme delivery leader Benny Mushowo said they had deliberately targeted women and child-headed families as part of efforts to economically empower them.
He added that the communities would be responsible for the selection of beneficiaries who would be assisted to set up solar-powered irrigation facilities at the nutrition gardens being set up in the two districts. The project will also provide technical assistance to smallholder dryland farmers and livestock producers.
“We are excited to begin this new work that is seemingly small, but seeks to bring big change to the vulnerable members of Gwanda and Bulilima rural communities,” Mushowo said.
“We regard energy as one of the key drivers for development, thus this project will seek to make use of solar power systems and trainings on farming as a business and agroecology to stimulate and promote agricultural productivity.
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“The project will strive to build rural communities’ capacity on natural resources management and promote good farming practices to contribute towards poverty reduction and enhance food and nutrition security,” he said.
At the end of the project’s three-year lifespan, communities would take full charge to promote a sense of ownership among beneficiaries who would have contributed at least 10% of the project’s costs.