Harvesting Water for Food Security By Busani Bafana
Earth mounds running across her field hold back the water that Caroline Ndlovu uses to grow maize, pumpkins, beans and watermelons long after the short rainy season in this arid part of Zimbabwe. Ndlovu, a mother of three who trains other farmers, is one of over 100 smallholder farmers practising the water harvesting technique of using earth dams. The water collected in the field allows farmers to increase their crop yields, which ordinarily are poor in this region.
The secret to water harvesting is hard work and a passion for farming, Ndlovu revealed. “I work hard and put to practise the skills I have learnt on pegging and digging the contours in the most suitable location to ensure that they hold the water after the rains,” said Ndlovu.
Farmers have faced the challenge of not having the tools to dig the contours as well as not having the labour involved in making the contours. So communities in Sizhulube village work together to dig the contours. While older or disabled members look after the children and help prepare food.