Original Research

Sustainability of food production support services offered by Sustainable Agriculture Trust to subsistence farmers in Bikita District, Zimbabwe

Norman Chivasa
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a526 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.526 | © 2019 Norman Chivasa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 August 2017 | Published: 20 May 2019

About the author(s)

Norman Chivasa, International Centre of Non-violence, Peacebuilding programme, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa; and, Department of History, Unit of War and Strategic Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe


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Abstract

In developing countries, food production challenges continue to persist, despite interventions at household levels such as input provision to address farmers’ resource constraints and training in conservation farming to improve land use and management by farmers. In Bikita District of Zimbabwe, concerns over the viability of conservation farming and input support services in helping out subsistence farmers to mitigate food production challenges remain unresolved. This research, therefore, evaluated the sustainability of support services offered by the Sustainable Agriculture Trust to subsistence farmers taking Ward 13 of Bikita District as a case study. Data collection involved two qualitative methods, namely structured interviews and focus group discussions, with 32 household heads comprising 18 women and 14 men. Results showed that the capacity by subsistence farmers to continue practising conservation farming using retained maize, sorghum and cowpea seed varieties and still produce better yields even after the Sustainable Agriculture Trust’s exit justify the hypothesis that conservation farming is a sustainable food production intervention. This study therefore concludes that the proficiency by subsistence farmers in Ward 13 of Bikita District carries the implication that training household heads in conservation farming means developing more subsistence farmers capable of producing their own food even amidst unpredictable rains, heat waves and shortening rainfall seasons.

Keywords

food production; food security; subsistence farming; sustainability; conventional farming

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