A Grain Of Hope: How A Small Pilot Program Is Making Big Strides In Zimbabwe
Between crippling political and economic instability and harsh weather conditions caused by climate change, the people of Zimbabwe face wide-reaching poverty and hunger. Action Against Hunger reports that more than 10 percent of the country’s children younger than 5 suffer from malnutrition. As part of the global response, a groundbreaking project aims to sow the seeds that could change everything for the Zimbabweans most in need.
A Recipe for Disaster
In 2015, catastrophic droughts combined with economic and political instability to create a perfect storm, resulting in extreme hunger for millions of people in Zimbabwe. In a country that relies heavily on its corn crops, an acute shortage leaves approximately 27 million people without any sense of food security, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Proposing a Solution
In response to the overwhelming failure of crops in the “maize belt” of southern Zimbabwe, The World Food Programme instituted a small grain pilot project to battle the country’s hunger problem. The project also aims to make the population more resilient and capable of thriving despite shifts in weather and other natural resources.
Seeds of Change
By providing project participants with the seeds for sowing successful small grain crops, such as sorghum and millet, The World Food Programme’s pilot project aims to balance the shortage of corn crops. Some of the initial participants were able to grow enough grains to keep themselves and their families going for the following season, while also producing enough extra to share seeds with other farmers.