GWERU — The Gweru City Council urban agricultural policy is expected to improve livelihoods as it will result in improved agriculture and incomes since the initiative is being supported by World Food Programme (WFP).
Gweru City Council Community Services Officer Jairos Ndlovu said the urban agriculture policy is there to ensure production, processing, marketing and distribution of agriculture products.
The policy will play a part in generation of income for urban farmers and the city council.
“The project is going to be assisting in land distribution for small scale farmers in the communities around Gweru and this will be spearheaded by Gweru City council,” he said.
”Through the Urban Agricultural Policy, we will be able to educate urban farmers around Gweru communities to abstain from farming on road intersections which causes accidents, abstain from river bank cultivation which stimulates siltation and land degradation.”
He said the policy will legalise, regulate and facilitate access to land and water.
Ndlovu said that with land being distributed under the city council and monitored by Environmental Management Agency, it will spearhead the required use of land by residents from the communities and this will make sure that residents feed from what they would have produced.
”People will also have access to fresh agricultural produce and increase self sustainability, thereby reducing the rate of unemployment and poverty in urban areas ,” he said.
Gweru Ward 8 councilor Notal Dzika said the policy will ensure that urban farmers embark on organised and formal ways of farming on land to be allocated by the local authority.
He added that through the policy, land will not be wasted but will be utilised accordingly.
Head of External Relations for the World Food Programme Maria Gallar supported the initiative made by Gweru City Council.
”I would like to thank Gweru for involving us in such a great programme that seeks to reduce poverty in urban areas through agriculture,” she said.
Gallar said WFP will also support the initiative through funding, education and providing equipment needed to spearhead the programme.
”We focus on addressing the short to middle term needs of vulnerable urban households by supporting climate smart urban agriculture, improving access to essential services building communal assets, enhancing community managed disaster risk reduction and promoting social cohesion,” said Gallar.
Other organisations and government ministries that took part in the programme include Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Ministry of Women Affairs, Welt Hunger Life and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.