LFSP is tackling the root causes of food insecurity and poverty in rural areas. These causes are related to agricultural productivity, market access, and food security and consumption.
- Addressing low productivity
- Improving nutrition
- Widening farmers’ access to markets
Addressing low productivity
Smallholder farmers have low productivity and do not diversify their products. They lack knowledge and skills in effective farm management and agricultural practices, including in crop choice, water harvesting and farm operation management. Additionally, they rely on rain-fed irrigation systems, have insufficient agricultural inputs and do not have the funds to invest in needed agricultural equipment (such as irrigation systems). In addition to lowering productivity, this makes it difficult for farmers to diversify their production and find different livelihood opportunities.
LFSP is helping smallholder farmers gain knowledge and skills on the market and agricultural practices, including by ensuring that organisations and services that provide relevant education reach smallholder farmers.
Lack of dietary diversity causes high stunting rates in Zimbabwe. Maize, the main staple crop, is not very nutritious. Yet, there is a widespread lack of knowledge on nutrition and of how to diversify the diet using available food. Poor child care practices, seasonal food shortages and poor hygiene and sanitation also contribute to poor nutrition.
LFSP is promoting bio-fortification of crops and food, educating people on how to improve nutrition and promoting a change in consumption.
Widening farmers’ access to markets
Smallholder farmers have limited access to markets to both buy inputs such as seeds and fertilisers and to sell their products. They often live in remote locations where infrastructure is poor and where input suppliers and buyers do not travel. Smallholder farmers also tend to focus on subsistence farming rather than farming as a business, which means they have low demand for inputs, resulting in few incentives for input suppliers to reach the farmers. Due to poor post-harvest handling techniques, the quality of farmers’ products is low, limiting their saleability. Farmers also have poor organisational and negotiating skills, limiting their ability to negotiate with suppliers and buyers. They also lack access to credit and insurance.
LFSP is improving farmers’ ability to buy inputs and sell their products by strengthening farmer groups, improving farmers’ access to financial services, connecting farmers to national and regional markets, and more.
Read about LFSP projects.