EFF Zimbabwe was established in 2011 and it has worked with developing communities through various projects, linking them to financial services, introducing alternative cash crops and the provision of mechanisation services to the smallholder farmer. We have worked with numerous partners to build livelihoods and scale up value chains. Our work targets youth and gender inclusivity in order to engage and empower those most vulnerable within our project communities.
MAIZE AND SOYA LIVELIHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Through donor funding EFF worked alongside IETC Zimbabwe to provide smallholders with quality input loans for soya and maize consisting of hybrid seeds, fertilizers and agrochemicals. EFF trained farmers on best agronomic practices for both crops, created farmer groupings and appointed lead farmers who were trained at established demonstration plots, supported by dedicated field agronomists. EFF was able to achieve high repayment rates with 72%, 85% and 97% over the projects three years. EFF was therefore able to successfully link these farmers to various financial institutions to help support the continued growth of the communities once our operations had come to a close. The farmers were linked with IETC Zimbabwe for the market and through the increased production rates alternative market players were attracted to the programme areas, providing farmers with multiple market options and continued growth.
PARTNERSHIP FOR SESAME PRODUCTION (PSP)
Under this program it was identified that cash crops for smallholder farmers were grown without market demand or connections leaving farmers in a perpetual state of subsistence farming. EFF aimed to introduce an alternative cash crop to farmers to increase livelihoods and market access. The project started out small with introductory demonstration plots, 10 throughout the different project districts, run and managed by EFF dedicated field staff. These demonstration plots allowed farmers to see first-hand the growth and cycle of sesame in our model of “seeing is believing”. The growth of the program grew exponentially with many farmers drawn to the high value, drought resilient crop and with a seasons best achieved in 2016 with over 1,200MT of production. By the final season the Foundation was able to connect farmers to micro-financial service providers to provide them with input loans.
The aim of the project was to run a sustainable and viable small tractor service for farmers in the district of Guruve, a community EFF has been empowering since 2011. With improved access to mechanization, farmers have been able to further improve their farming practices and skills. EFF received a grant for a capital injection to procure agricultural machinery and was able to purchase two field tractors with a 3- and 2-disc plough; an 18 and 16 mounted disc harrower; 2×2 row planters; and a 5 and 6 tonne trailer. The project charged a fee in line with similar operating competitors in the area yet offered a wider range of services to farmers. The mechanization hub also provided local employment and capacity building for the community.
EFF expanded it’s sesame livelihoods development project to the Matabeleland district. The district was not known for farming but for livestock so the program had to progress through attitudinal changes within the communities. With wide outreach, the crop attracted great attention with demonstration plots in the first season across the 30 wards providing first hand training and the uptake of the crop by government agricultural extension officers. As sesame is a low input cost crop, its appeal broadened as many smallholders were constrained by high input costs and inaccessibility. Additionally, EFF provided seed inputs to farmers to increase adoption of the crop.
GROUNDNUT COMMERCIALIZATION (GC)
The Foundation worked with a local groundnut processor to reintroduce groundnuts as a domestic commercial oil seed crop to Zimbabwe. The project aimed to produce greater local yields in order to lower local importation needs and provide farmers with a nitrogen fixing crop for their soils and to boost their yields for seasonal planting. The project also specifically targeted young farmers through our partnership with the Federation of Young Farmers Clubs of Zimbabwe (FYFCZ).