BY IRENE MOYO
GARDENING schemes in Bulawayo’s high-density areas have transformed livelihoods for hundreds of unemployed residents in the city.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) is funding the project and providing a platform where residents share ideas to improve farming.
Speaking at an event organised by MIHR in Bulawayo on Friday, Sizinda community garden vice-chairperson Isan Mare said ever since the residents ventured into vegetable farming, they have never looked back.
“We started back in 2014 with a few residents, but as time went by, we reached 90. Now we are happy to have 120 residents who are growing nutritious vegetables for food and commercial purposes.
“Currently we have 10 water taps which are solar powered with 12 residents sharing one tap. Residents have been rotating in groups to make sure that 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 whatever we grow on that farm is for sale, then we share the profits,” he added.
One resident, Tracy Mare said farming was now her way of life.
“I have been a farmer since 2014. Farming is now my home where I get to be financially free and be able to afford, maintain my home and develop new projects. As residents, sharing ideas on farming is important and we hope that with time we will be able to expand our farming area and increase production,” Mare said.
Siphatheleni Farm chairperson Alice Kadzima, from Pumula, said the current economic crisis was pushing more residents to find sustainability in farming.
“We have residents who are willing to join the irrigation scheme 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 farming. We will also train the residents on garden governance, a constitution that would enable and guide daily operations as well as providing market linkages.”
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