Manesa village is in ward 3, Chipinge district where farmers survive on dry land and irrigation farming. Crops grown mostly include small grains, sugar beans and maize. Issues of dietary diversity and meal variety were a challenge in the ward and village. Crops such as sunflowers, maize, sugar beans and vegetables used to be grown in Manesa irrigation scheme for commercial purposes. Income realised from these sales was used to procure household utensils and clothing as it was in small amounts. The FARM Activity encouraged formulation of producer groups and Budiriro Production, Productivity, Lending and Savings (PPLS) group which comprises of 13 female members from Manesa village was formed. The group has thus far received trainings on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)s for the growing of small grains, marketing, basic nutrition, meal demonstrations, and infant and young child feeding. Following trainings in savings they have managed to start savings and each member is contributing 5USD per month. The contributions were started when the Activity trained the group on group marketing and encouraged them to grow small grains which had a ready market at Grain Marketing Board (GMB). The group managed to grow pearl millet and managed to sell 9.8 tonnes to GMB. The money raised was used to start projects in poultry and small livestock through monthly contributions of 5 USD each. In a bid to improve their livelihoods, the group purchased one female goat for each member which are already breeding and producing milk and meat for the family. The group was linked to Denford Murombedzi from Chipinge, a supplier of improved road runner breeds and have started purchasing 20 Sasol chickens with a 10kg starter crumbs feed for one group member per month since February this year. Seven members have since received 20 Sasol C4 road runners from the contributions which can lay 300 – 320 eggs per year, grow to a weight of a minimum of 2.5 kgs when at 12 weeks, and can be sold at 8 – 12 us per bird.

To date, one youth group member Chiororo Petronella received the first batch of Sasol C4 chickens that have already started laying eggs this month which she is consuming with the family including her child who is 1 year old.  Trainings on dietary diversity and meal demonstrations were conducted to this group and they are growing crops which contribute to a balanced diet to feed women of reproductive age and children under 5 years. They are growing vitamin A rich foods and other diversified crops in the irrigation scheme with crops like butternuts, carrots, spinach, paw paws, NUA 45 sugar beans and small grains grown in the dry land. Group members were requested to have small household nutrition gardens at their households on top of those in the irrigation gardens to improve diversity and have enough varietal crops for a balanced diet as per trainings done on meal demonstrations.

The cooking demonstrations coupled with crop and livestock productions trainings conducted by the Activity has made the group consume at least 5 out of 10 food groups which will keep the children under 5 years healthy and free from malnutrition. 

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