The project is currently covering 3 communities in the Hwange District, under Chief Mvuthu, applying effort to these and overtime the impact will ripple to neighboring communities and regions. The regenerative actions carried will be according to the context of each community as these are pretty unique. The work impacts +- 7000 hectares of land, there are 7 schools.
While the land may look arid and beyond repair, Hwange community has an opportunity to implement Holistic land management and reverse vicious cycles of desertification and poverty. With training and implementation of these actions, abundant vegetation can start to come back in as little as one year and this will provide a cascade of benefits for local communities including food security, enough pastures, economic and social stability and more fresh water. The communities live near several major wildlife parks in Zimbabwe, and so by this training the communities will also be helping wildlife to thrive.
Holistic planned grazing produces more forage and more ground-covering litter between plants. It does so by keeping bunched animals moving around the grazing area, giving plants a chance to grow where the herd isn't grazing, and scarifying bare soil surfaces and trampling down litter to enhance growing conditions. Dramatic changes don't occur overnight; but within a single season, if well implemented, people will see the difference. They will not run out of forage. This is because they are not only able to grow more forage in the growing season, but, through the planning, are able to ration out what they have grown over the non-growing season to ensure it lasts until the next growing season, even if it starts late.
Community members get skills of mapping, dividing paddocks or camps, reading the land, mobilizing human resources and because we are in a wildlife zone, re-kindle how they used to interact with wildlife without conflict. Herders will be equipped with how to take care of animals and they have to learn from herders from other implementing communities.
Croplands can benefit from a good grazing plan that concentrates animals on them in the non-growing season leading to a doubling or tripling of yields in the next growing season without plowing or adding more fertilizer than what the animals leave behind. The Hwange communal lands are located within some of poorest rainfall and soil regions in Zimbabwe. Year after year, communities have planted GM seeds, that are dependent on synthetic fertilizers, on poor soils and with livestock and crops being prone to wildlife invasions.
The Savory hub has tested this game changer methodology of using movable enclosures in cropfields and grazing areas for maximum trampling, dunging and urinating impact from livestock. Using specific calculations, a farmer works out how much material they need for a certain type and number of livestock. These enclosures (or bomas) keep livestock safe from predators like lions and hyena at night. Bomas made of canvas material usually white and predating animals are deterred by the wall and can not pounce if they can not see inside.
Which is such a huge relief in a locality where wildlife and human conflicts are a thorny issue. Unlike traditional fixed bomas, these mobile ones allow a maximum benefit to the soil, reduce labor of transporting manure by a lot and has seen communities grouping themselves to have livestock impact their fields. The smaller the boma sheet the better as it allows smaller groups of farmers to coercively work together comfortable. This project will also include seed saving, where we will start collecting heirloom traditional seed, that is a scarce commodity and we create our own seed bank. Seeds are our heritage and we desire to bring back that wealth and art of seed preservation.