Project to mitigate impact of COVID-19 on food and nutrition security

16Jan 2021
Correspondent
The Guardian
Project to mitigate impact of COVID-19 on food and nutrition security

A new project to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on food and nutrition security using Climate Smart Technologies has been launched in Zimbabwe.

The project will be implemented by the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCADERSA), with funding from the European Union (EU) through the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The project is an extension of the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) programme which seeks to strengthen the capacity of SADC member states to undertake regional and national adaptation and mitigation actions in response to the challenges caused by the effects of climate change.

A similar project launch was conducted in Eswatini while preparatory work was facilitated in Mozambique in November.

The EU has contributed Euro 8 million to the GCCA+ project to increase the capabilities of SADC member states to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, and to have their voices better heard in the international climate change negotiations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a humanitarian crisis, negatively impacting the food and nutrition status of millions of households worldwide.

The pandemic has disrupted food systems, including production and marketing due to lockdowns imposed by countries.

The escalating threat on livelihoods, food and nutrition security due to increasing cases, lockdowns and health-related restrictions calls for urgent interventions to minimise the impact to the most affected communities.

In Zimbabwe, the launch and associated activities were conducted from 1 to 4 December, 2020. The delegation was welcomed by the implementing partner, Grow a Tree Foundation (GTF), which arranged a series of meetings with stakeholders from different ministries and the local political leadership.

The team held its first meeting with GTF which outlined a number projects the foundation was working on. These projects include honey production, bee keeping, vegetable production, fisheries, poultry (indigenous chickens locally referred to as road runners, including installation of a solar incubator), as well as moringa, pawpaw and baobab production and processing.

The required infrastructure included drilling of boreholes, installation of a solar powered drip irrigation system, fencing of horticultural gardens, installation of biogas digester, and construction of fish ponds. The foundation is also promoting the efficient use of energy using stoves.

The team engaged the project beneficiaries who re-emphasised the need to invest in vegetable production, honey production, papaya, moringa and baobab production and processing.

Community ownership of the project activities was indicated during the project launch.

Land allocated for the project and a borehole that has already been sunk together with irrigation equipment suggest good chances of success of the project as well as sustaining the project activities beyond the lifecycle of the funded activities.

The project is expected to be a farmer field school and lessons will be used to replicate the model to other areas in the country.

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