Zimbabwe Conservation and Agroforestry Development Project

Background

Zimbabwe is a country in southern Africa about half the size of New South Wales with a population of approximately 14 million people. Zimbabwe’s climate is sub-tropical, although this is moderated by its altitude of between 900 and 1,600m above sea level. Zimbabwe faces regular droughts. The country’s principal agricultural crop is maize however tobacco, cotton and wool also commonly grown. 
Government corruption in the last 15 years has taken a terrible toll on Zimbabwe. In 2011 hyper-inflation peaked at a mind blowing level of 11,200,000%, unemployment exceeded 80% and government debt hit a staggering 151% of GDP. A country that once exported agricultural products now has a serious food security problem with more than 1.5 million people in need of food aid. 
In addition to food shortages there are also major firewood shortages in Zimbabwe. With less than 30% of the country having access to the unreliable grid electricity, about 90% of Zimbabweans rely on wood for cooking. With 70% of the population rural based and highly dependent on farming and firewood for survival, significant challenges lie ahead. 
Hungry and energy starved, Zimbabwe’s people have cleared large areas of the rural landscape for firewood and agriculture.  In the last 20 years, Zimbabwe has lost an astonishing 30% of its forest cover.

Solutions

The Zimbabwe Conservation and Agroforestry Development (ZCAD) project aims to train, empower and facilitate improved forestry, agriculture and conservation activities amongst subsistence farmers. Our goal is to institute change at the household level so that Zimbabwe’s farmers can be more profitable and sustainable. As these changes occur, farm families are able to address other critical areas such as education, water quality, sanitation, nutrition and housing. 

The ZCAD project undertakes a number of initiatives to address these issues:

  1. Agroforestry training
  2. Fuel-efficient stove training
  3. Junior LandCare schools program
  4. Agroforestry Network Support program

All of these initiatives are overseen and monitored by Beyond Subsistence staff and representatives during and after implementation to ensure accountability and impact.