The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
THE COVID-19 induced lockdown and the need to sustain livelihoods has seen many families taking advantage of the abundance of rain to do farming in urban areas.
Most families who are self employed were affected by lockdown measures put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Save for essential services, the bulk of the workforce including informal traders were not allowed to go to work.
Sunday News took a tour in some of the Bulawayo suburbs where people have been practicing urban farming. Ward 7 councillor, Shadreck Sibanda said they realised that some of the people in high density suburbs struggle to get food, hence they were working with the Bulawayo City Council to help the less privileged in Makokoba in urban agriculture. Over 100 families have benefited from the programme.
“The council identified the land and provided it to them so that they can be able to do gardening. As you are aware areas such as Makokoba and Mzilikazi, among others are congested and most of the yards do not have space for gardening. So with the availed land, people are able to sustain their lives through agriculture,” said Clr Sibanda.
He added that they also provided residents with seeds to plant maize last month and they will continue to assist the people as there was a borehole to assist them access water,” he said.
Mr Bekithemba Tshuma of Richmond, a vendor said seeing that he might not be able to be selling his wares he decided to utilise space around his house.
“As l won’t be able to be going to the market to buy razors, combs, cockroach pesticides and watches which l usually sell, I thought it would be best to do farming of crops such as tomatoes, onions, green beans and cucumbers which l can easily sell to get a few cents,” said Mr Tshuma.
He added that they started the initiative from the start of the lockdown last year in March and has been earning better off than he would from the wares he sold in town.
One resident of Lobengula West, Ms Stella Mlilo said she and her neighbours utilised the small bush in front of their houses to grow vegetables.
“We saw that if we fold our hands and do nothing we would starve with our children. We decided to utilise the bush across our homes to do gardening for different types of vegetables The rains were good from the start and we decided to expand a little further and grow tomatoes, beans and peppers,” she said.
Ms Mlilo noted that from their small garden they have also been able to help poor members of society by giving them vegetables. They also sell part of their produce to the public.