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 pic 2014.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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Mozambique: “Agroecological farming came to stay in Marracuene” — say the farmers

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_africa_agroecologia.jpgLVC Africa News 

(Mozambique, Maputo, July 11, 2014) – the adopted agroecological farming methods are there to stay among the farmers in Marracuene, south Mozambique, says the farmers from Alfredo Nhamitete’s farming Association, which is part of the National Farmers Union (União Nacional de Camponeses — UNAC). This resolve resulted from a knowledge exchange visit between the local farmers and the visiting members of Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) and La Via Campesina, on July 9. 

The 280 association members produce different food crops such as yam, carrot, cabbage, onion, kale, beans, lettuce, eggplant, among others. Part of the produce is sold at the local market, and the earnings are equally shared among the members. “With that money I can send my children to school, and buy them school supplies”, said a woman farmer, and member of the association. 

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Haiti – Land, native seeds, environment – the path of Life

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_agriculture_paysanne_durable_Photo_Haiti_2_paint.jpgWe, the members of CLOC-Via Campesina Haiti, accompanied by other CLOC-Via Campesina member organisations from several Latin American countries, have held a two day meeting, together with other Haitian Social Movement organisations from across the country, at the National Training Centre for Peasant Leaders in Papaye. The theme of our assembly was Tè, Semans Natif Natal, Anviwónman, se chemen lavi (Land, Native Seeds, Environment: The Path to Life).

Our reflections:

At the international level

We discussed the landgrabbing that is being carried out by the imperialist countries through the actions of their multinationals, particularly in Africa and Latin America. What we are witnessing is a real process of recolonisation. More than 50 million hectares have changed hands; more than 100 billion dollars US have already been spent on buying up land, and, in the bank accounts of more than 120 financial groups, more than 100 billion dollars are available for landgrabbing.

The land that has been grabbed is mainly intended for the production of agro-fuels and animal feed crops. More than 13 million hectares of forest land disappear each year. In South America, a hectare of the Amazonian forest disappears every second. In order to make more and more money, the multinationals are destroying the planet – and at the same time claiming to put forward solutions to the climate crisis. The medicine is killing the patient.

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