Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre, with support from the Lush and Lush Spring Prize, conducted the first-ever traditional seed and food festival in the Mbire district. The event was a noble time for smallholder farmers in Mbire to come together to celebrate their own local seed varieties, traditional food, and culture.
Local seed varieties and traditional knowledge are valuable resources for the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe. They have been developed and accumulated over time by local communities and passed down over generations. They represent the adaptation and resilience of local farmers to the changing environmental and socio-economic conditions.
They also contribute to the diversity of food crops and medicinal plants that sustain the livelihoods and health of the communities. However local seed varieties and traditional knowledge are under threat from various factors, such as climate change, land degradation, urbanisation, industrialisation, market forces and loss of cultural identity.
These factors end up eroding the local knowledge systems and reducing local seed varieties’ availability and quality. Therefore, there is a need to preserve and promote these resources to benefit current and future generations.
One way to preserve and promote local seed varieties and traditional knowledge is to celebrate, document and integrate them into research, education, and training for posterity. This would help to raise awareness and appreciation of their value among different stakeholders, such as researchers, extension workers, policymakers, educators, and consumers.
It would also facilitate the exchange and dissemination of local knowledge among different communities and regions.
Another way to preserve and promote local seed varieties and traditional knowledge is to support their cultivation and processing by local farmers through the provision of labour-saving and renewable energy-powered equipment.
This would help to maintain seed genetic diversity and quality, as well as cultural relevance.
It would also enhance the food security and income of rural households, especially in times of droughts, floods, or pests.
Moreover, it fosters community resilience and empowerment by enabling local farmers to participate in decision-making and innovation processes.
The Mbire traditional seed and food festival was a noble opportunity for the smallholder farmers in Mbire to celebrate their local seeds, traditional knowledge, and culture.
The Guest of Honour at the event, Mr. Guta said,
“The celebrations are a reminder of our sole responsibility as locals to jealously safeguard our traditional values, knowledge, heritage, and resources that we got from our forefathers”.
Attendees who participated in the seed and food fair indicated that it was everyone’s duty to protect our local seed varieties. One of the participants Allen Murombo from Karai village, Ward 8 (Mbire district) said,
“It is everyone’s duty to protect what we have for the sake of subsequent generations who shall come after us”.
More than 200 smallholder farmers thronged the Karai business centre for this noble event which was being conducted for the first time in their area.
All participants managed to go away with a prize. The prizes were meant to motivate the farmers to partake in subsequent similar events.