Zimbabwean youths face head on, El Nino induced challenges through organic farming. 

– “I would say that IKS has helped me a lot to increase my tomato production during this El Nino phase,” a young farmer said

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe – In the midst of complaints that the El Nino phenomenon has hindered the agricultural activities of many in southern Africa, young people in Zimbabwe have disclosed that organic farming has enabled them to weather the storm.

Tafadzwa Sheshe, 30, Talkmore Sakhala, 23, of Mashonaland West and Marvelous Chimana, 20, Marlvin Chipuriro, 25 of Mutoko District, Mashonaland East, made these revelations on Friday at a Youth Symposium in Harare with the theme, “Youth Empowerment for Climate Justice in Zimbabwe: Harnessing the Power of Agro-ecology for Climate Resilience in Zimbabwe during the El Nino season and beyond.”

The goal of the symposium, which was organised by PELUM-Zimbabwe and Young Volunteers for the Environment, was to assess and gain a better understanding of Zimbabwe’s current agro-ecological agriculture practices in light of climate change and natural phenomena like the current El Nino.

“As a tomato grower, I had to reduce my production area to manual watering due to the lack of adequate rainfall. However, in order to maximise productivity on a tiny plot of land, I have made the decision to stop using synthetic fertiliser and pesticide.” 

Tafadzwa Sheshe disclosed, “I saw an increase in crop after using goat and chicken excrement as organic fertiliser and bio-pesticide.”

Talkmore Sakhala, a farmer and bean coworker from the same region, claims that despite less rains, his good harvest was made possible by organic cultivation.

Marlvin Chipuriro’s testimonies corroborated the same outcomes after using biopesticides and organic fertilisers.

I use four hectares for my horticultural project, but I’ve noted that the heat is rising due to less rain, which has also contributed to an increase in pest population. Nevertheless, I’ve always known that animal dung and biopesticides may be used thanks to the Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS).

Marlvin stated, “I would say that IKS has really helped me to increase my tomato production during this El Nino phase.”

The same thing happened with Wonderful Chimana, a Mutoko horticulturist who grew tomatoes, millet, finger millet, and beans.

“My crops now require less water, and I hope to produce better when the drought is over,” Marvellous stated. “I have been able to produce better during this El Nino phenomenon by using animal waste and trees as bio-pesticide and organic fertiliser.”

The young farmers said that in an effort to prevent anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and maximise productivity, they make composts and cover them with black plastic to prevent infections from the livestock.

Growing organic farming means gradually adding more organic matter to the soil. Water percolation is increased by 15-20% in organic agriculture, recharging groundwater and enhancing crop resilience to adverse weather events like drought and flooding.

The PELUM Association and other groups provided agro-ecology training, which made all of these accomplishments possible.


Despite the fact that agro-ecology training has produced great results in a number of regions, issues including land ownership, value addition, and market accessibility were hot topics during the symposium.

All of the young farmers disclosed the post-harvest losses, with the majority of them citing transportation issues.

Even if the nation is in favour of decentralizing the fruit and vegetable market, the majority of produce still ends up in big cities like Bulawayo and Harare.

Although organic farming, as a component of agro-ecology, requires a lot of labour, customers who place equal value on all crops are less aware of the agricultural idea. 

The young farmers’ conversations were dominated by land ownership because of the land tenure regulations in the nation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top