Tag Archives: innovation

Resilience and innovative nature of farmers in Zimbabwe

With Farmer Mr Sibanda of Jambezi village 

With Farmer Mr Sibanda of Jambezi village

I had a fantastic day with farmers at Jambezi village in the Hwange district of Western Zimbabwe today.

Climate change is very real in Zimbabwe as the premature stoppage of rains, followed by very late rains, has wreaked havoc with the maize harvest. The country is expected to have a short fall of one million tonnes of maize, and the drought is being compared to that experienced in 1992.

We engaged with two lead farmers:
We first met with Mr and Mrs Sibanda who were experimenting with conservation agriculture with pearl millet, sorghum, groundnut and cowpea. He is a very charismatic man who works with his wife to farm around two hectares.

Mrs Kesi Nkosi, farmer producing sorghum seed for the first time

Mrs Kesi Nkosi, farmer producing sorghum seed for the first time

The second farmer, Mrs Kesi Nkosi, was an older lady who was producing sorghum seed for the first time.  We will be buying the seed from of her to start bulking seed of an old ICRISAT variety called Macia. She was very proud of her farm and her use of weather forecasts to better manage her operations and inputs. Read more

Systems thinking for southern Africa research program

With ICRISAT Zimbabwe staff during our planning meeting

With ICRISAT Zimbabwe staff during our planning meeting

I had a great day at Victoria Falls with ICRISAT scientists and staff today where we reviewed the country strategies and discussed how our Zimbabwe program can be adjusted to fit new priorities.

There were rich discussions with the scientists and staff on mapping their work to the value chain framework. Through that we identified the gaps in the framework with regards to systems research.

We have been doing a lot of work on innovation platforms to understand complex systems. Not just on commodities, but how those commodities might sit within a farming system, and the very integrated nature of agriculture in the drylands, especially in southern Africa.

By only focusing on crops we miss the bigger picture, which includes aspects like livestock.  Small ruminants like goats are an important resource that families sell for health and education, but also to invest back to agriculture. So now our team will be going back to see how they can accommodate systems research. Read more