Zimbabwean women train in organic farming
Grocery stores around the world are expanding their organic food aisles, and Zimbabwean farmers are stepping up to meet the demand — with United Methodist help.
The United Methodist Women in Zimbabwe recently embarked on a five-day organic farming training at Fambidzanai Permaculture Training Center in the nation’s capital. The training saw them learning techniques to reduce the use of synthetic substances to maintain soil fertility in crop and animal production.
Organic farming involves growing and nurturing crops without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This type of farming also relies on ecologically balanced agricultural principles such as crop rotation, green manure, organic waste and biological pest control among others.
Grace Musuka, a United Methodist Women regional missionary, told participants at the workshop that the whole idea is to increase the use of chemical-free means in crop and animal production.
“The main objective of this workshop is to promote the use of natural synthesis in both crop and animal production,” she said.
She added that the techniques are better for the environment.
“The use of organic fertilizers will not only provide for natural foods but also help eliminate environmental pollutants, among other things,” Musuka said.
Boniface Matimba, program facilitator, made a similar point. Adopting organic farming will reduce the use of agro-chemicals that has been on the rise in Zimbabwe, he told participants.
“The use of non agro-chemicals for food production will help clean the environment as the excessive application of synthetic fertilizers has been on the increase under modern farming,” he said.
He said embracing organic farming would help in the country’s fight to reduce the negative effects of climate change.
“If the country can scale up the use of non-synthetic fertilizers in farming, it means our environment will also change for better climatic conditions,” Matimba said.
On top of that, there is an international market for the resulting produce. ZimTrade, the country’s trade development and promotion organization, said the Netherlands offers a growing market for organic fruits particularly, figs, mangoes, pineapples, avocados and guavas.
Barbra Katsande, one of the participants, said knowing the global demand is a good motivator to grow chemical-free foods.
“The demand for organic foods on the global market was good news to us hence the need to embark for commercial scale,” she said.
Chingwe is communications coordinator for the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference.