The UN has declared Zimbabwe to be on the brink of starvation. An estimated 5.5 million rural Zimbabweans face food insecurity, which was only made worse by a drought experienced in the 2018-2019 agricultural season. Natural disasters such as drought will only increase as climate change accelerates, with its impacts on land growing ever-worse, in particular for rural communities who depend upon land for agriculture. As wider food systems are also impacted by increased drought, the role played by smallholder farmers in achieving and maintaining food security is crucial.
IIRR has taken action against food insecurity and the growing impact of climate change on rural communities through partnering with Women in Communities (WICO) to implement a Bio-Intensive Gardening (BIG) project. BIG projects utilize a Regenerative Agriculture Approach, which is more sustainable and can yield more crops than previous rural farming techniques. The project took place in ward 5 of Shurugwi District, Zimbabwe, and trained rural farmers in the BIG principles. These included deep-dug beds, the making and using of composite, pest control, the use of liquid manure, growing fertilizer trees in gardens, and using plants that could grow on their own.