Bio-Intensive Gardening (BIG) brings life to smallholder farmers

IIRR, together with the Women in Communities (WICO), implemented a BIG project in ward 5 of Shurugwi district in Zimbabwe. The project started in February 2019, but communities are already reaping benefits from the technology. To date, 116 households are now capable of intensively growing vegetables in a 1.5-hectare community garden. In the past, farmers used to produce vegetables on the same piece of land without getting many yields.

The role of smallholder farmers is critical in achieving food security. The UN has declared Zimbabwe to be on the brink of human-made starvation. Over the past decade, food and nutrition insecurity at the household and national levels have increased due to reduced productivity of the main crops.

After learning the BIG technology on land preparation (deep digging, use of composite, ashes, and mulching), farmers started to realize bump harvests, and even leaving them with a surplus for sale. The community garden is now a source of income and nutrition for communities. The farmers are growing grapes, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, green pepper, sweet cabbage, king onions, shallots, and cucumbers. In summer, they grow green mealies.