We have been supporting a community in rural Murehwa (c.90km east of Harare) to diversify, expand and improve the quality of their small-scale agriculture. We have provided tools, seeds, fertiliser, advice and a link to their local agricultural officer. To complement the traditional staple crop (maize) Robert and Nyasha have supported the community to grow butternuts, tomatoes and potatoes.

Sadly, crops are generally not doing as well as expected. The plants were affected by excessive heat which was experienced country wide late last year. Temperatures reached over 40 degrees in parts, the highest for 50 years. 77 elephants died in Western Zimbabwe as a result. Some of Murehwa's plants were burnt, and did not germinate well when the rains came, much later than usual. Some crops experienced stunted growth and wilting, others have a disease called bacterial wilt, and are therefore not expected to produce as much harvest as we anticipated. We are treating the disease as far as is possible.

Some crops, however, have done quite well and expect a better harvest than their counterparts. Despite the problems encountered, the project is going very well since people are committed and yields are better than the previous year, even if not as good as hoped.

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