Inspecting another bumper harvest

The lives of 45 extended families in an HIV/AIDS-affected community have been transformed thanks to our latest market gardening project. Given an average of eight people per family, that means 360 people have directly benefited from this project. The increased family incomes have enabled participants to pay for healthcare, improved accommodation and children's school fees, resulting in significantly improved quality of life across the local community.

Despite the widespread flooding earlier in the year, the group in Murehwa is seeing exceptional results. It is expected that when the crops are harvested, in the coming week, they should fetch very good prices on the market. As last year, the quality is so high that many companies are already trying to negotiate with them. Whereas in the past, they each had to search for vendors to purchase their crops, this year the group has elected a marketing committee which is working to ensure that its members get the best possible prices.

To mark the end of our involvement with the community, and following the success of last year's Garden Day, we are now organising a Seed Fair. Just as last year's event connected the farmers with marketing companies who are now buying their produce, the aim of this latest initiative is to introduce farmers to seed-producing companies. It will be an opportunity for the companies to meet with and exhibit their seeds to the farmers - both those that SEED has been helping and others from across the region. Our expectation is that this will help to develop relationships between the two groups and to promote greater awareness of local needs and opportunities.

Having satisfied ourselves that, as we reported six months ago, this group has now become self-sufficient, we are looking to move on and to establish a similar project in a new village. Several of the surrounding villages have requested that SEED helps them. Our Community Development Workers have already visited a number of possible new locations but are still evaluating which of the many needs we should respond to.

To implement the project with up to 100 additional families elsewhere in Zimbabwe's Mashonaland East province would cost £7,600 (equating to just £9.50 per person directly helped). The majority of people in this province (67%) survive on less than US $1 per day, while the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among adults is 16%. If you could help such families to escape poverty, please make a donation today.

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