This is the editorial for SustainZim Issue 11, with focus on food security, conservation and energy for those living in both rural and urban areas. Food security and nutrition is one of the major agendas of the government through ZimAsset.

We have an article from Ian Kazingizi who discusses fish farming in Zimbabwe and its progression over the years. He attributes the increase in fish farming to companies like Agrimarines Solutions and the Development Reality Institute who train people. If our readers would like to know more about fish farming please refer to their websites, including Aquaculture who have been helping communities set up these projects. In the very first SustainZim edition of 2016 I wrote an article on the “Muunganirwa Fish Project” in Bindura district which can be found on the SustainZim website (www.sustainzim.org). Fish farming improves people’s livelihoods by meeting their dietary needs and providing a viable income. It also helps to preserve the wild stocks of fish which are under a lot of pressure from overfishing and water pollution.

Food economy is the examination of the human and ecological cost of what we eat. Tanaka Tsikiri, an independent sustainable development consultant writes about the ’local food economy’, its production and transport, aka ‘food miles’. Tanaka explains the current crisis in Zimbabwe and links fuel shortages and sudden price hikes. He calls for an inadvertent shift towards a stronger and more sustainable local food economy. He describes how people are shifting to urban farming and food production, ditching lawns for greenhouses, swimming pools for fish ponds, increasing food security.

Jennifer Mayer from Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe discusses how Zimbabweans in the past 5/6 generations have moved from highly diverse and nutritious traditional foods to reliance on more processed foods, e.g. maize. This is affecting the whole population’s health and she give statistics on how it is affecting children, women and men. Jenifer goes on to talk about the recent ‘Good Food Festival’ held in Harare. The purpose of this festival is to change the perception of Zimbabweans towards local food and facilitating a return to traditional healthier foods. It brings together small holder farmers, food and seed producers, farmers organisations and agribusinesses to interact and exchange information. Edson Dambaz’s article talks about how Zimbabwean’s focus more on adding mineral fertilisers and improved seed to increase production, as opposed to more sustainable agricultural practices. Current issues in Zimbabwe include the degradation of cropland and the loss of forest cover due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Edson gives suggestions on increasing food production without contributing to deforestation and
land degradation.

Our feature article is from Violet Makoto from Forestry Commission who writes about ‘community participation in sustainable biodiversity management’. Violet discusses the Global Environment Facility program which supports initiatives in the North West of Zimbabwe with focus on forestry, wildlife and landscape management. She lists the benefits of such initiatives, including bee farming which enhances livelihoods through the sale of honey and other bee keeping products. In this project farmers would have to look after the forests where their bees forage. Staying with conservation, I decided to write an article that brings attention the plight of the Samanga baboons in Honde Valley, Manicaland. These animals are unique to the area and at risk of becoming locally extinct. I explain how banana plantations have taken over the landscape in Honde Valley causing loss of habitat for the baboons. I go on to explain other associated issues, the unique micro climate of the area, water usage and deforestation. I give plenty of illustrations, so readers can visually see the devastation being brought upon the valley. Honde Valley is very familiar to me because this is where my mother comes from. I am sure there are other cases whereby indigenous animals are becoming extinct due to human expansion. If you know of any, please let us know so we can highlight them.

Prisca Daka, an environmental lawyer explains the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report describes the effects on our planet if the temperatures continues to increase, including loss of life, extinction of animal and plant species. Prisca calls for more political will and
international unity.

Martha Munyoro Katsi of Practical Action previously wrote an article titled, ‘Solar brings joy to Gwanda’. We have 2 more articles on the same project from Nevson Mpofu and Innocent Katsande. Nevson discusses how the solar project is providing energy for irrigation thereby supporting 10,000 families in the Gwanda area. Innocent highlights 56-year-old Sharon Sibanda, a provider for her family of 8 and how her life has been transformed by this solar project. Wellington Madumira from ZERO describes the current energy situation in Zimbabwe, the citizens engagement meeting held by ZERO and its objectives. He discusses access to electricity in rural and urban areas, giving statistics. Wellington gives suggestions to the government and its statutory bodies on providing adequate and sustainable energy supplies. He also makes suggestion for the private sector, citizens and non-state actors like SustainZim, to keep raising awareness on energy issues
in Zimbabwe.

Lastly, Karen Maturure defines ‘sustainability’ and how it has moved from being a complicated term to daily life. Karen defines the terms and concepts that are associated with sustainability. In my opinion, Sustainable Development should be introduced as a compulsory subject in secondary schools so that young people are aware going forward what is required of them as a citizen of Zimbabwe and the world. Details of our contributors if you would like to get in touch with them are included at the end of each article.

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