Chimanimani District has all the 5 agro economic regions found in Zimbabwe. Over 39% of the district ward lies in region 4 and 5. These areas are characterized by high temperatures and low rainfall patterns thereby local families food insecure. Bad farming practices is also reported to be a contributory factor. In order to improve food security at household level, many farmers in Chikwakwa ward have since adopted farming methods that promotes the adoption of small grains and conservation agriculture.
Historically, farmers in the drier regions were known as people who grew small grains and experienced good harvests. However, as time went by, most farmers discarded the small grains and replaced it with maize cereal which rarely does well in their region. It’s only when there are above normal rains that the maize plant would do but they cannot remember the last good harvest. Their ancestors never suffered from severe food shortages as the small grains are more adaptable to the local dry conditions. The community had a solution that lay in their past, but the challenge they faced was that they had no small grain seed as most of their efforts were directed towards the maize production. Through community support by AGRITEX and other local development agencies, some farmers were given small grain starter packs, however the development and adoption of seed banks need to be pursued. It is envisaged that in the fullness of time farmers would have local a seed banks for the small grains.
AGRITEX is playing a vital role in the success of the small grain production as they are providing farmers with necessary skills for successfully growing of the small grain. A successful demonstration plot was established by AGRITEX extension officers in Chikwakwa ward. Post-harvest assessment and continuous monitoring is being done