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A-maize-ing growth in Zimbabwe

A farmer stands beneath the towering maize plants growing in her field. Richard Librock photo.

February 3, 2020

By Janice Biehn

In Chikukwa, Zimbabwe, the maize is growing tall again, thanks to a $400,000 seed distribution project that took place last fall with PWRDF partner TSURO Trust, with funding from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the government of Canada.

The program was in response to the devastation of Cyclone Idai in April 2019. The cyclone wiped out crops and seeds for the fall planting season, leaving people without food and without a source of income. Eligible farmers received seeds just in time to plant before the rainy season.

“In ward 10, the maize crop is good and the finger millet is excellent,” writes Richard Librock, PWRDF External Program Funding Manager, who recently visited the partner. “Rains started late in mid-November and have been reasonable with the exception of a three-week dry spell after the maize reached the four-leaf stage,” says Librock.

Matilda Saize (left) stands in her field of maize planted with seed from the project. Evidence of the landslides caused by cylone Idai can be seen in the background.

Zeddy Chikukwa (right) has had such success with his finger millet crop (nearly 100% germination rate) that he has invited other farmers, including Chipo Muzazi, to help him thin out his emerging crop. Farmers have transplanted the young plants from Zeddy’s to their own fields and will pay him 10% of the value the crop produced by the transplants.

Soon the plants will be ready for harvest, but for now, farmers have been given a reason to hope their food security will be improved.