Food Security – Meet The People
Family in village in Zomba area of Chimanimani forest belt.
Samuel lives in Zomba village with his two wives and their eight children. Together they farm up to two hectares every year. None of the adults in the family have a paid job so they must live on what their farm can provide. It’s not easy. Their house is in the edge of a forest conservation area so the community is under pressure not to fell trees to access more land. I understand the importance of the forest, explains Samuel, but if I don’t farm, how do I feed my family. So every two or three years Samuel and his family have been ‘slashing and burning’ new areas, allowing them to move on and leave old fields fallow for two seasons. The family grows maize, millet, and a few vegetables.
As part of its work (in a project funded by Darwin Fund of UK, in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew) in the forest belt of the Chimanimani Transfrontier Conservation Area, MICAIA is promoting ecological agriculture. Samuel and his family are among the first group to take up the approach. His wife explains why the family got involved. MICAIA is helping my family by showing us how to get more production from the land we have. We cannot afford fertilizer to help the plants grow better, or chemicals to control the pests. MICAIA has shown us how to use plants that we have in the forest to make medicine for our crops, and how to make compost to use instead of fertilizer.
The switch to ecological agriculture will enable Samuel and his family to grow more food and of greater variety, without cutting down more forest.
Felistus Jimu is a member of Garuzo women’s beekeeping group. The group has 50 members and will soon have 100 beehives. When the honey is harvested and sold, the group will decide what to do with the money, perhaps investing in another project. For Felistus, however, being a member of Garuzo group is about much more than beekeeping. When we come together to meet Mrs Doreen (MICAIA’s Project Manager for the women and beekeeping project), we don’t just talk about beekeeping. We talk about why honey is good for us as a food and as medicine, and even to make our skin look more beautiful! We talk about hygiene, the management of our money in the house, and we discuss what we are going to do as a group or as individuals with the money we will get when we sell the honey to Mozambique Honey Company. It is a very good opportunity to be together and discuss many things about our home and village, including domestic violence and other issues that affect our life.