Vulnerability analysis of seed farmers in Zaka, Zimbabwe

Executive Summary

This report was developed for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) by Development Data (DD) following a survey on seed farmers in Zaka District, Zimbabwe. This survey was commissioned within FANRPAN’s Harmonised Seed Security Project (HaSSP). This follows a mid-term review meeting of the project where one of the key action points was to conduct a vulnerability assessment of participating seed farmers. Development Data partnered Agricultural Technical and Extension Service (Agritex), and GRM International to assess vulnerability levels of seed famers in the district using the Household Vulnerability Index (HVI) assessment tool.

The HVI is a product of FANRPAN, and consists of a statistical index that measures household vulnerability, a data management system, and a reporting framework. The aim of the index is to improve planning and targeting of humanitarian and development interventions. The HVI constructs a statistical score for each household based on 15 variables (called dimensions). The result is what is called the HVI and it is used to classify households into three categories according to their level of vulnerability: low vulnerability, moderate vulnerability and high vulnerability. Based on these different vulnerability levels, specific relief or development packages are recommended to policy makers and development agencies to assist the affected households overcome their vulnerability.

The HaSSP survey conducted in Zaka had a primary objective of assessing the vulnerability of seed farmers in Zaka and benchmarking their vulnerability status. The survey targeted a total of 483 seed farmers in Zaka, including 166 that are HaSSP-funded. A total of 200 of the sampled 217 respondents were interviewed; and of these, 165 were HASSP- funded. The respondents came from 5 wards (Wards 1, 3, 14, 15, and 22). HaSSP farmers were in just one ward, Ward 15.

The survey reached out to 1231 people in 200 households. The average household size was 6.28, which compares to the district-wide average of 5.9 from the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey. The results show a strong patriarchal society. Female headed households were 37 (18%) and statistically significantly fewer. Female headed households were also significantly smaller than male headed households. Considering the total population of 1 231 of surveyed households, the bulk of the members were single (764) or married (413). Just 17 were divorced, and 48 widowed.

Results show that farmers in Ward 1 significantly have more access to land. On average, these farmers have nine hectares (ha) available per seed farmer. The observed average land sizes for the other wards were just 1 ha and 1.5 ha in Ward 14 and Ward 15 respectively. Ward 22 had an average of 2.6 while ward 3 had an average of 2 ha per farmer. Application of organic manures was very limited, on average, less than 10 per cent of available land was fertilised. 67% of households practice contour ploughing, 70% practised rotational grazing. Almost all (194 out of the 200) surveyed indicated that they practice crop rotation. The main rotational crops were maize, legumes and tubers.

The surveyed wards generally showed a population that is in good health. 92% of respondents indicated a good health status. The average age for both males and females was 25years. Because of the youthful nature of the population, a significant proportion (38%) were still in school. The results show that distribution of education status varies between males and females giving a higher percentage of females going to school beyond secondary school in the villages. However, the statistics show that significantly more females indicated that they were illiterate, 71 compared to 48 males.