Makunike association is a group of 30 farmers under the leadership of Mrs Mabika the local AGRITEX Officer in ward 7 of Mutasa district. The association consists of 11 men and 19 women. In the association there are 6 mothers of children 6-23 months old. The group is composed of farmers who have embraced nutrition sensitive agriculture as a thematic area within the Multi-sectorial Community Based Model for reducing stunting (MCBM) project. Farmers in the group are practicing various agricultural activities such as horticulture, small livestock and fish farming. The group is receiving technical assistance on nutrition sensitive agriculture from Mrs Mabika. From a group of 30 farmers, Beauty Chitonho (53) has become one of the most successful individual farmers.
Beauty Chitonho owns a 0.4 hectare plot with a variety of horticultural crops under irrigation. The irrigation water is being extracted from a local perennial spring using 30mm PVC pipes. “Beauty is one of my hardworking farmers who are willing to learn more on horticultural production…….” the AGRITEX Officer concurred. Beauty Chitonho is a caregiver to a child aged 22 months and is also taking care of a household of 7 members. Her plot has a variety of horticultural crops such as beans, peas, cabbage, spinach, covo, broccoli, carrots, beetroot, red and yellow paper, butternut, garlic and tomatoes.
Apart from horticulture, Beauty is also practicing small livestock production at her back yard. She is rearing rabbits, goats and indigenous chicken. Asked for a comment on the good work she is doing, beauty reiterated that her hard work is mostly for an improved diet for the children as a way of fighting against stunting. “Chandinodakunyanya, utano hwemhuri yangu kupfurikidza nekudya balanced diet…”. She also mentioned that before she embarked on nutrition sensitive agriculture, her household had poor dietary diversity as they used to grow only covo and tomatoes for relish. However, through education and technical assistance from the local extension agents, the food and nutrition security situation of her household has improved significantly. Additionally, Beauty mentioned that she also sells the surplus of her garden produce to the local market and the nearby households at large. She also noted that the incomes from the sales of the surplus is used to buy other basic commodities like cooking oil, sugar and also to pay school fees for her little grand children at a local primary school. Beauty has put the knowledge into practice and she has become an exemplary farmer in Makunike farmers Association.