Gardening co-op saves villagers from hunger

Buhera south is experiencing serious food shortages with many surviving on one meal a day. In an attempt to assist the elderly and orphans to stave off hunger, a group of 35 people has formed a gardening cooperative named FUSHAI.

“People are travelling throughout nearby areas in search of food. But those who are old can’t do anything so we have decided to assist them,” said Gogo Rosemary Mazaika, who leads the group.

The garden is now established, but long queues at the only water source are a common sight. Water shortages have hit the whole constituency, affecting both people and livestock. Mazaika appealed to well-wishers to help drill boreholes.

Isaac Nendanga, who lost his mother in the early 90s, said he had benefited from the project and is now going to school.

Some members said the project had benefited not only the old people and orphans but the entire constituency because they were selling their products at a cheap price. “This project has helped villagers because we are selling our products at affordable prices,” said Alpheus Zivhare.

Boarding schools such as Nyashanu High School get fresh produce from the garden. An official from a local NGO said the project has improved the diet of the farmers.

“The project is self- sustaining and we no longer have people who go to sleep with an empty stomach and the lives and health of the people have improved immensely,” said the official.

The MP for Buhera South, Naison Nemadziva, said there is need to support such groups and has gave an assurance that he would help the group with money from his next Constituency Development Fund. “ I know the plight of the people and I am sourcing funds for the project,” he said, adding that the project was a true testimony of how people can empower themselves.