Nutritional garden boost for Mberengwa villagers

The Chronicle

Raymond Jaravaza,[email protected]

WHEN the Government joined hands with development partners to establish a nutrition garden in Ward 33 in Mberengwa District, many villagers took it as a place to just fetch clean tap water.

Those from Chingechuru Village who were used to walking long distances to get clean and safe water, rejoiced more when 10 taps with running water were established.

Two years later, after a nutrition garden was established in the village in 2021, women like Mrs Doreen Mathela now understand the true value of a nutrition garden.

“At first most of us were just happy that we had clean and safe water closer to our homes but didn’t fully understand the benefits of a nutrition garden,” she said in an interview.

“Because we were used to fetching water from rivers, we saw the garden as a place to just fetch clean water and go home.

“But with time, we were encouraged to make use of the garden to grow a variety of vegetables all year round and feed our families as we have running water at all times,” said Mrs Mathela.

The nutrition garden is situated on a piece of fertile land that can accommodate tens of small gardens, and is powered by solar with 10 000 litres water tank. The most common produce that villagers prefer are green vegetables, onions, tomatoes, beans, and carrots, which were at varying stages in the garden.

“This is a community project that benefits all the villagers so we guard it jealously and make sure that nothing is vandalized,” she said.

“Of the 10 taps around the garden, only half are working. So, if they can be fixed then every small garden in here will be closer to running water, which makes our work easier” added Mrs Mathela.

The Government and development partners are playing an instrumental role in the establishment of nutrition gardens across the country as part of measures to curb cases of malnutrition while boosting food security.

Community and nutrition gardens play an important role in enhancing food security and dietary diversity to combat malnutrition.

They have become a source of livelihood for most women, especially widows, and often the beneficiaries sell surplus produce to communities around them and earn extra income.

If fully utilized, nutrition gardens can supply produce to customers in cities and towns where demand for fresh produce is high among restaurants and big hotels.

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