Sustainable Agriculture Technology

The specific aim of the Action is to develop and test methods and means to improve the quality of and farmer access to agricultural extension services for field crops, livestock, horticulture and management of selected related natural resources in Natural Region (NR) IV of Zimbabwe. This is expected to increase and sustain profitable smallholder agriculture. The Action will contribute to the goal of improving and sustaining food, nutrition and income security and overall rural development through four specific objectives as follows:

  1. Promote the development and implementation of a needs-based farmer driven effective extension service system with multiple players for smallholder farming households in NR IV of Zimbabwe.
  2. Re-vitalize, adapt and improve delivery of public extension and integrate private extension services to a changing context and smallholder farmer needs. 
  3. Enable smallholder farmers to increase and improve farm input/resource-output efficiency through improved extension services. At least 50% of the supported households (approx. 60,000) have increased their quantities produced and/or value by 20% until 12/2015 through improved extension services (irrigation systems, cultivation cyclesLivestock mortality in 50% of households with livestock has decreased by 10% until 12/2015. (
  4. Initiate roll out of Action best smallholder extension approaches, methods and practices into other areas beyond the Action districts.

The Action objectives shall be achieved through four Outcomes (Expected Results) and eight Outputs are envisaged. These outputs and their quantified main indicators are as follow:

Outcome 1: An effective extension system which is demand driven, needs-based, and integrates both public and private sectors is developed and tested for smallholder farmers in Chivi, Masvingo, Gutu and Centenary districts in NR IV of Zimbabwe

Output 1.1: Innovative farmer and farming system driven extension approaches, models and practices identified for an improved extension system

Output 1.2: Innovative approaches, methods and practices for delivering farmer needs-based market oriented extension for field crops, livestock, and horticulture involving public and public/private partnerships are tested for suitability and impacts

Outcome 2: Strengthened and more effective public sector extension service delivery in the Action districts

Output 2.1: Existing frontline public extension agents are better trained, prepared and motivated and have increased contact with and impact on farmers and farmer groups

Output 2.2: Future extension agents have adequate knowledge and skills to address the diverse and changing needs of farmers in different agro-ecological zones before starting professional work

Outcome 3: Smallholder farmers are more effective in accessing, utilizing and influencing extension services and messages for increased and sustained productivity

Output 3.1: Methodology of setting up and sustaining a system of decentralized smallholder farmers groups is developed and implemented for the selected districts

Output 3.2: Members from farmers groups increase and improve farm productivity and conservation of natural resources through increased use of extension and other services from the public and private sectors

Outcome 4: Best extension models and practices, and promising options for private sector involvement in smallholder extension services are shared with other similar programs and with the public and private sector

Output 4.1: Syntheses on best extension approaches, mechanisms, practices and institutional arrangements are made available

Output 4.2: Promising and tested models and practices on provision and delivery of demand driven extension are shared with government and the private sector for national scaling consideration

Location

The Action will be carried out with rural smallholder farming households in four districts of Zimbabwe namely Chivi, Gutu and Masvingo in Masvingo Province and Centenary in Mashonaland Central Province.

Duration: The project shall be carried out from 1 February 2013 to 31 January 2016.