Shashe Smallholder Farmer Organisation (SFO): a true centre of agro-ecology

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_manure_for_agroecology_2014.JPG(Zimbabwe, Masvingo, October 20, 2014) Zimbabwe Small Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) represents smallholder farmers practicing organic agriculture in Zimbabwe, a practice promoted through participatory ecological land use planning and management, and encourages value addition to uplift the welfare of members. The organization has about 19,000 smallholder farmers organized in four clusters, namely the western, eastern, northern and central. These clusters are made up of 64 Smallholder Farmer Organizations (SFOs) which nurture dynamic alliances. Shashe SFO, where the Agroecology School is located, is under the central cluster. Shashe farmers are beneficiaries of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme implemented by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2000. They are part of the 380 official land beneficiaries resettled in 2000 at the Shashe block of farms, which covers about 15,020 hectares. Of this area, about 23% was allocated for residential and arable purposes, the rest is grazing. The area is generally dry, receiving about 400mm of annual rainfall, and has deep soils (sandy loams, red clays and a mixture of the two). It was mainly used for ranching by the former white farmers. The new farmers have broadened the land use as they are now producing both crops and livestock

At Shashe farmers employ various agroecological practices to ensure food sovereignty, mitigate climate change effects and reduce dependence on bought-in agro-inputs thus retaining farm income within the family’s purse. These practices include the use of organic manure, mulching, minimum tillage, multiple cropping, exchange and use of traditional seeds and open pollinated varieties, among others.

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The future of family farming is in our hands

ecologist%20pic%202014.jpgHolly Creighton-Hird (Original article posted on www.theecologist.org)

19th October 2014

Family farming is a hot topic this year. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming. And last week, family farming was the focus of World Food Day 2014.

Of course there's is no guarantee that a family farm is well-run or sustainable. But the best farms - those that best preserve traditional food and culture, contribute to balanced and culturally appropriate diets, maintain agricultural biodiversity and use natural resources sustainably - tend to be family farms.

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Mozambican Peasants vs. the Great African Land Grab

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_woman-unac-moz.jpgMaputo -- With a shimmering coastline stretching for more than 1,500 miles along the Indian Ocean, heartland game parks rivaling the Serengeti and a cornucopia of natural resources -- located mostly in land used by humble farming communities -- Mozambique is getting quite a lot of attention these days as one of Africa's most upcoming investment hubs and in vogue destinations. Investors have not wasted any time in carving out their stake in the country two decades into the relative stability following a 16-year civil war on the heels of independence.

The cash-strapped Mozambican state technically owns all of the land within its borders, offering leases that are renewable up to 99 years to foreign governments and corporations for agribusiness or extractive industrial megaprojects.

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UN-masking Climate Smart Agriculture

Press Release

International Peasant Movement/Movimiento Campesino Internacional 

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_logo_2014.JPGHistory presents itself first as tragedy, and the second time as a farce.

As women, men, peasants, smallholder family farmers, migrant, rural workers, indigenous, and youth of La Via Campesina, we denounce climate smart agriculture which is presented to us as a solution to climate change and as a mechanism for sustainable development. For us, it is clear that underneath its pretense of addressing the persistent poverty in the countryside and climate change, there is nothing new. Rather, this is a continuation of a project first begun with the Green Revolution in the early 1940’s and continued through the 70’s and 80’s by the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction projects and the corporate interests involved. These projects, such as the so-called Green Revolution, decimated numerous peasant economies, particularly in the South, to the extent that many countries, like México for example, that were self-sufficient in food production, became dependent on the North to feed their population within a short couple of decades.

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