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MIDLINE EVALUATION BRIEF: A lessons-learned brief from the Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP)

Coffey International, the Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation (MR&E) service provider for the LFSP, completed a Midline evaluation in 2017 to assess the impact and effectiveness of the programme.

This Midline evaluation brief highlights the patterns of impact and changes across LFSP components and thematic areas: The Agricultural Productivity and Nutrition (APN) and the Markets Development (MD) components and another thematic focus area of Rural Finance (RF).

The findings that inform this brief were drawn largely from primary sources that included a survey of more than 1,800 farming households in LFSP districts.

Download the Midline Evaluation Brief. (PDF)

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Infographic: Markets Development support to the coffee value chain

Zimbabwe’s coffee is regarded highly and fetches a high premium on the global market. However, production has been on the decline due to a number of constraints.

LFSP’s Markets Development component seeks to revitalise coffee production in Zimbabwe through improving access to agricultural inputs, post-harvest processing and access to export markets.

LFSP has developed an infographic providing insights into the coffee value chain in Zimbabwe.

Download the Coffee Value Chain Infographic Here. (PDF)

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Infographic: Markets Development support to the goats value chain

Goats are a critical value chain supported under the LFSP’s Markets Development component. Improving goat production provides a basis for agribusiness development in rural communities, helping transform the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

The LFSP’s Markets Development interventions are assisting farmers to improve goat production and access to markets as the farmers shift from subsistence goat farming into commercialised enterprises.

LFSP has developed an infographic providing insights into the goat value chain in Zimbabwe.

Download the Goats Value Chain Infographic Here. (PDF)

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Sowing the Seeds for a Better Future: Seed production pays dividends as smallholder profits grow

Zimbabwe’s agricultural potential

Agriculture in Zimbabwe is a key source of income for most of the population, with over 60% of those who are economically active working in farming. Having been the Bread Basket of Africa, agriculture now only accounts for a small percentage of the country’s GDP. With the sector being dominated by smallholder farming, there is huge potential to raise farmer incomes. For many smallholders across rural provinces, selling produce to middlemen at low prices is the only option. Similarly, in harder to reach areas there has been a scarcity of training on farming techniques, guidance and support for input selection and financing as well as a lack of information on more profitable means of selling produce. Combined with this, unpredictable weather conditions and a difficult economic environment make sustaining a profitable enterprise tricky business.

The DFID-funded Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP) works with farmers to tackle these challenges through two key components – Agricultural Productivity and Nutrition and Market Development support. Thanks to £47,635,000 donated by DFID, both parts of the programme have been instrumental in driving improvements for smallholders. Through building links with private partners, smallholders have received guidance on produce that brings about increased yields and returns. With stronger market networks and inputs, smallholders have enjoyed many more business opportunities. For many, the key to success was seed production.

For further details, access the full article here (PDF).

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Plastic Pays: Securing smallholder incomes through mobile money and card payments

 Navigating cash shortages and illiquidity in Zimbabwe.

The economy has been a real worry for many people in Zimbabwe for several years. The economic downturn has led to illiquidity, cash shortages, inflation and subdued economic activity. This has an impact across the country with as many as 43% of Zimbabweans describing their economic situation as “very bad” or “fairly bad” (Afrobarometer, 2018). Despite this challenging environment, the Market Development component of the DFID-funded Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP), has been working to develop more resilient value chains to secure incomes and allow smallholder agriculture to thrive.

DFID has invested £47,635,000 enabling LFSP to collaborate with smallholder farmers and private sector companies at the local and national level to co-create strategies and inclusive business models that deliver benefits for both smallholders and agribusiness.

For further details, access the full article here (PDF).

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Cash Cows in Shurugwi: How fatted cows have given farmers cause to celebrate

Cattle in Zimbabwe
Cattle farming remains one of the most profitable ventures in Zimbabwean agriculture and is viable around the country as demand for beef continues to rise. Both larger commercial farms and communal farms contribute to national beef production and high monetary value is placed on cattle across Zimbabwe. However, not only is farming cattle a lucrative enterprise, culturally, cattle hold a symbolic significance.

Traditionally, cows are kept as symbols of wealth, they may be used to pay lobola (the bride price) or taken as fines for infidelity. Retaining cattle is in some households seen as a priority over selling them in favour of paying for their children’s education and slaughter tends therefore to be reserved for important celebrations, such as weddings, elders’ funerals and traditional ceremonies.

The Market Development component of the DFID-funded Livelihoods and Food Security  Programme (LFSP) has worked with farmers in three districts in the provinces of Manicaland and Midlands to facilitate wider and better use of pen fattening farming techniques. The initiative was not simply about encouraging farmers to sell their cattle on but also to make the most of this opportunity – fattened cattle produced through pen fattening are able to fetch prices far superior to those that are not as well-nourished and underweight.

For further details, access the full article here (PDF).