SEED is working with twenty families to launch a new market gardening project in another village in Murehwa. This will equip participants to maintain wells and raise crops that are both highly marketable and possess rich health benefits.

Based about 55 miles east of Harare, the group will work together both in the demonstration garden and in their own individual gardens. This will help to cement relationships within the group, so that members are better able to support one another more generally. All their gardens are situated near each other and in a water belt where water is plentiful, so there is no likelihood of wells drying up before the rains come.

New market garden project

Unlike our previous group, in which women outnumbered men, this group has an equal representation of both men and women. The women initially helped to clear members' gardens while the men dug and refurbished each other's wells. Often, the responsibility of providing for the family is left to women. By challenging the men to help the women, we therefore hope that they will become an example to other men in the community.

SEED's Senior Community Development Worker, Robert Kazunga, says, "The project empowers people so they become self-sufficient and live within their means by doing sustainable projects. Our hope is that they will pass on their new skills to other community members. Their lives will also change for the better by way of improved health for the families, and improved sources of income. This will enable them to send their children to school and take care of other daily needs that they would not otherwise have been able to."

Learning from the experience of SEED's first market gardening project, when tomatoes were affected by frost, the group chose to plant peas and fine beans. These both do well in winter and demand is very high. Market prices have been stable for some years now and we don't foresee prices declining in the near future. A 50kg bag of unshelled peas fetches about US$150, while fine beans go for about US$200. Both are highly nutritious and will therefore help to improve the health of the families involved in the project.

The work is being developed with the area's Agricultural Extension Officer, who has political connections at both local and district level. This is important if we are to avoid potential problems later, especially as the country looks forward to the Presidential Election, scheduled for 31st July.

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