Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe and its non-profit partner, Children in the Wilderness, have implemented a number of farm-to-table food security initiatives in the Tsholotsho District next to Hwange National Park. The impact of these projects, including a ploughing-and-planting initiative and innovative Agri-Course for girls, is already showing positive results for community members.
“The remote rural areas of Zimbabwe outside Hwange, where we operate in private wilderness areas, are particularly dry and unyielding for agriculture, exacerbated by extreme temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns and human-wildlife conflict,” says Wilderness Zambezi Community Liaison Officer, Shuvanayi Taruvinga. “Our latest initiatives in Tsholotsho will go a long way to supporting our most vulnerable neighbours with food-security opportunities.”
Ploughing, planting and educational projects commenced at a number of the district’s villages in November 2021 before summer rains began. Millet and sorghum were the first seeds planted in the Tsholotsho Farm-to-Table Ploughing Project.
This year’s good wet season has since produced an 80% germination rate, and healthy rows of crops have uplifted the spirits of residents, with the rains also filling the natural water sources for the livestock. The harvest in April-May will provide the most vulnerable families in the area with a nutritious staple for the year, and provide an income by selling off the surplus.
Wilderness has committed to buying any excess millet and sorghum for its staff meals, and to use it as an alternative flour in its local heritage menu items in the Hwange camps.
Wilderness has also initiated a life skills programme to focus on agriculture in partnership with Blue Collar Traveller (long-term scholarship sponsors of Children in the Wilderness). The Agri-Course for Girls programme also began at the end of November 2021, with 15 girls enrolled.