MASHAVA - Women have been urged to take an active role in farming as a way of empowering themselves and enabling the consumption of healthier diets at community and family level.
Speaking at a Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (Zimsoff) - organised field day in Shashe Block near Mashava recently, the organisation's chairperson, Elizabeth Mpofu said they were currently in the process of forming a farmer's organisation for African women.
"Women must be actively involved in farming to supplement food reserves for a balanced food diet. As Shashe farmers, we must produce surplus food which can be supplied to institutions like schools and clinics for their own supplementary feeding schemes.
"This in turn will promote healthy living for our children who depend on food handouts from the government for such schemes," said Mpofu, who also chairs La Via Campesina, an international farmers organisation.
She said the formation of a continental organisation for female farmers will enable women to visit other countries where they will share ideas on farming.
Speaking at the same occasion, Zimsoff national co-ordinator Nelson Mudzingwa said they were unhappy that seed companies concentrated exclusively on the production of hybrid seed maize.
"We have other food crops that contribute towards a balanced diet. Rapoko contains iron that is necessary for our blood, calcium for our bones and proteins for body building. Farmers must be enlightened on the production of small seed varieties and conservation farming which will enable them to diversify.
"Diversity means venturing into other areas like livestock and poultry production to supplement our food crops," Mudzingwa said.
Participants at the field day had the opportunity to see for themselves what Zimsoff is doing in Shashe and to exchange ideas on soil and water conservation.agric,local