Youth inspired to adopt Agroecology

Youth inspired to adopt Agroecology

Judith Matiashe (23) is a young woman from Matiashe village in Chimanimani district who has been inspired to begin her own Agroecology business. Judith says working with PELUM Zimbabwe member, Towards Sustainable Use of Resources Organisation (TSURO) Trust has helped her to understand how post-harvest losses and off-season shortages of fruits and vegetables are a viable business opportunity. Photo PELUM ZWE

Sustainable agriculture is something I had never given much thought to, growing up in my village in Chimanimani district, my parents practiced conventional farming and for me it was the correct way of food production.

It was only when I was engaged by Towards Sustainable Use of Resources Organisation (TSURO) Trust as an intern in the Monitoring and Evaluation department that I was exposed to sustainable agricultural practices, and as I interacted with Chimanimani farmers, I began to understand the dangers posed and perpetrated by conventional farming and the advantages of the sustainable farming model called Agroecology.

As I did my work, I met many farmers but one particular farmer made a lasting impression on me. His name is Jacob Mukunukuji (28), a young man from Marumauta village in ward 13 of Chimanimani district.

Before Jacob started working with TSURO Trust, he really struggled to provide for and support his family. Jacob was somewhat like me; he was not really a farmer and got most of his food requirements from shops and local producers.

Jacob’s story and lifestyle however began to change in 2015 when he began practicing Agroecology as a result of participating in workshops held by TSURO Trust. Jacob was trained on food processing of black jack, rape, honey, bananas, sugar cane, mangos and groundnuts.

After the training TSURO Trust further supported him with a solar dryer to enable him to dry his produce in a way that preserves nutrients and maintains good hygiene. TSURO Trust also provided machines for honey processing and peanut butter processing.

Jacob used the machinery, knowledge, and skills he had acquired to start a profitable Agroecological business. He began value addition of fruits, vegetables and honey and it transformed his life. His customer base has really grown because his products are of high quality and he has moved from earning around USD$75 -150 monthly when he first started in 2020 to approximately USD$280 from peanut butter processing and USD$400 from honey processing net per month. In addition, Jacob has employed three workers from the community. His business has not only turned his life around but also benefited his community.

Jacob’s success as a youth is what has really inspired me. I now have a full picture of what agroecology is all about. I now understand the importance of producing food without using unsustainable means. I have made it my goal to learn as much about Agroecology as I can before my internship with TSURO ends because I plan to set up my own agroecology system where I will be producing healthy foods for household consumption or for sell


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