More than 2 640 households in Bulilima and Gwanda districts are set to benefit from water and energy projects aimed at providing them with cheaper and reliable sources of water to improve crop productivity, food security and better adaptation to climate change.
Speaking at the launch of the Planting for Progress Project (P4P) in Plumtree on Tuesday, Benny Mushowo, a Practical Action regional project manager said the households in the two districts will benefit from the three year initiative. The full project is called the smallholder women farmers achieving sustainable livelihoods and food security through agroecology, solar gardens and natural resources management.
The project shortened to P4P seeks to reduce poverty and enhance food and nutritional security of smallholder farmers, with 70 percent of them being women farmers.
Key outcomes of this project, funded to the tune of US$1,7 million by UK Aid, include the provision of solar powered irrigation gardens, construction of sand dams and building the resilience of local communities to climate change.
“We are excited to begin this new work that is seemingly small, but seeks to bring big change to the vulnerable members of Gwanda and Bulilima rural communities,” said Mushowo.
“We regard energy as one of the key drivers for development, thus this project will seek to make use of solar power systems and trainings on farming as a business and agroecology to stimulate and promote agricultural productivity.”
The project is funded by UKAid with Practical Action as the implementing partner. Speaking at the launch of the project, acting District Development Coordinator of Bulilima district, Nyasha Majonga, welcomed the initiative, saying it would spur efforts to help the country attain its 2030 vision to become a middle income economy.
“This kind of initiative is not only a micro one, but a macro level one that should help our country to meet its Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
“We encourage more women to embrace it, since it is targeting at least 80 percent women beneficiaries. Benefits of such interventions are enduring and are a key vehicle for the attainment of the country’s 2030 vision.”
The project broadly seeks to help local communities to survive droughts, enhance food security and improve livelihoods through improved access to reliable energy sources. Through the installation of solar systems to power irrigation gardens and abstraction of water from sand dams, local communities will make significant savings on energy costs while at the same time promoting a cleaner environment.
Solar power is cheaper and useful for irrigation project. Bulilima and Gwanda districts are prone to droughts and improved access to power will lead to increased resilience, enhanced food security and better adaptation to climate change. Access to solar energy will also help in promoting efficient use of water while sand dams will augment water supplies in these dry regions.