Climate change and new survival strategies

by Fortunate Taruva
Unpredictable climate changes and inconsistent farming inputs supply has left many families facing serious food shortages only a few months after harvesting in the province of Masvingo.
Masvingo province is in region 5 which is characterized by little rainfall.The area is mostly suitable for cattle ranching which encompasses Chiredzi, Bubi, and Beitbridge among other areas.Under normal circumstances, people in these areas should grow small grains that are resistant to drought. Having considered all these unfavorable farming condition, it is safe to say that the majority of people in Masvingo province are prone to drought every year.
One of these areas, Mukaro area under Chief Gutu has been an area where NGOs like Care International used to bring food donations in the form of Bulgar, rice, beans and cooking oil but because of the political climate in the country it ceased to do so 6 years ago.The German Government through the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development is trying to improve food security in the area through some cooperative gardens for different villages in different wards,  to alleviate food shortages.
Considering all these predicaments, the folk in Mukaro community have embarked on different projects that can generate income and bring food on their tables on daily basis, like growing vegetables and traditional broom making. These two projects have become the basic and popular activities carried out in the months of June to August every year.
Speaking to Mr. Jefter Njinga from Tangadzani village has now turned into making decorative traditional broom says he has been in the business for the past 5 years and things have been going smoothly for him and his small family regardless of the economic condition the country is facing.
“I have been doing broom making for the past 5 years to make ends meet and have managed to pay school fees for my kids and to provide food for them” he said.
Mr Njinga says that he used to ferry brooms to Harare for selling, but due to transport problems that could make him stay for nearly 5 days at the road trying his luck on heavy vehicles, has made him shift his attention to a nearby town Masvingo where he can sell his brooms faster though he might have taken nearly 100 brooms with him.
“I used to take my staff to Harare but now I have shifted my attention to Masvingo where I can sell at list 100 brooms in a space of two days hence this means I can go even twice a week than to spend a week or more at the bus stop trying to get transport to Harare, thus an advantage for me because I do not order them but I do it myself so it will be of no cost to me unlike those who buy from people”, he said.
However trying to get much understanding why he chose to do broom making as his source of income to earn a living other than getting farming inputs that will compliment his only source of income and get food out of it, he seem to have lost hope in farming because of poor soils and other ecological factors.
“ I have tried so much every season to grow crops  but it has never worked hence life is on broom making because even if we receive more or very little rainfall the harvest will be the same due to poor drainage system” he stated.
Regardless of conditions stated by Mr Njinga above, some people have taken advantage of wet areas and dug wells and even boreholes in their gardens so that they could grow vegetables for sale. Vegetable selling is not done all year round but it is from June to probably September and their main market is Chiredzi.
Speaking to Mr Tatenda Ganganiso who has identified vegetable selling as his only way of living he said self sustainability requires passion just like any other job.
“I could have done the broom making like most of the people in our community are doing, but my passion is on gardening and I had a dream” he said
With the progress that he has made so far through vegetable selling, it gives meaning to the saying “everything starts with a seed, sometimes the seed is tiny and small but always packed with potential”.  Mr Ganganiso has managed to build a 5 roomed house and 3 cattle since last year when he started the project.
At times dreaming is good and seeing beyond especially for those who see possibilities where others are just looking at life with blank stares. Life is for those who believe in possibilities when cynics are just waiting to run to some place where they could safely pursue their dreams without inconveniences and keep dreaming big scouting more possibilities. This is a true reflection of Mr Ganganiso a young man who dream big and find his way out of poverty through agriculture.
You have got a dream and if you want your dreams to happen, you have to wake up and do something if your life is not going to turn into a nightmare, try not to look for the easiest way but find a process that you start working through and pursuing with dogged determination, but most important is to keep revising your formula
Dreaming big has become a life game changer for Mr Ganganiso who is living an adorable life through hard working, thus self sustenance
However, Mr Ganganiso pointed out that had it been the vegetable selling at Chiredzi is done all year round, he could have done so much, but the business is seasonal hence if one fails to utilize the chance per season, it will be very difficult to pick it up which is a major setback like any other business.

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