Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe, in collaboration with CITW, has officially started a ‘farm to table’ programme in three villages near Hwange National Park’s southern boundary. This programme aims to provide the most vulnerable families with food security, as well as a means for Wilderness Safaris to eventually source vegetables for staff rations in camp.
The headmen from the villages of Vukunzezele, Vozheka, and Ziga brought their respective communities together and nominated homesteads to take responsibility for one hectare each for growing sorghum and millet. Ploughing was conducted over the last two weeks, and now a total of 62 hectares are ready for planting seeds. The sorghum and millet seeds arrived last week, have been distributed, and are in the process of being planted before the rains arrive. It is wonderful to see how communities can come together and help out those most vulnerable, and it was with impressive speed that this programme got off the ground, as so much has already been achieved.
This is a notoriously difficult area to farm due to the soil type, extreme temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns, and human-wildlife conflict. Growing vegetables will of necessity be seasonal, and a few additional resources will be required to help increase productivity and yield. Furthermore, only the hardier vegetables will be planted, such as chou moullier (giant tree kale), rape, kale, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut.
This is the start of a much wider project that will grow to include livestock rearing, with an abattoir for processing and a storage facility, all powered by solar. There is so much potential in this area, and these villages’ location in proximity to the Wilderness concession makes it a convenient way for staff rations to be sourced in the future, as well as to inject some much-needed income into the surrounding communities and ensure that those living there have food security.
We look forward to what the future holds for this project and will provide another update in the new year.