The challenges facing small holder farmers in Zimbabwe are multi-faceted; they include low smallholder agricultural productivity caused by, among other things, reliance on rain-fed systems, poor input/output markets, low soil fertility, lack of draught power, lack of smallholder oriented credit support systems and weak agricultural extension service delivery systems. The situation is compounded by the effects of climate change and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS. The adult HIV prevalence is currently 15 percent.
In an effort to address these challenges the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) is funding a USD$ 72 million four-year programme which aims to increase agricultural productivity, increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security, and reduce poverty in rural Zimbabwe. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), GRM International and Coffey will manage the Livelihoods and Food Security Programme. It will improve the lives of smallholder farmers in eight rural districts across Zimbabwe.
The programme will contribute to poverty reduction, which is also in line with national priorities. It will also actively address the specific constraints that smallholder farmers, particularly women, face in raising the productivity of their farms and participating in markets.