Empowering Women in Integrated Crop-Livestock Farming through Innovation Platforms: Experience in Semi-arid Zimbabwe


Empowering Women in Integrated Crop-Livestock Farming through Innovation Platforms has drawn upon the experience gained during the ZimCLIFS project in semi-arid Zimbabwe, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, to introduce legume fodder crops like Mucuna as a better livestock feed, to improve market linkages for farmers to benefit from higher livestock productivity and to enhance knowledge and skills among support services enabling upscaling of the impacts of the integrated crop-livestock systems. In particular, it looks at how agricultural innovation platforms of commodities important for women farmers (goat, groundnut) can empower women in this rural context. In rural Zimbabwe, women farmers face multiple challenges such as degraded soil, lack of labor, inaccessible/far-off markets to sell their produce/livestock, inadequate supplies of resources (seeds/fertilizers), as also climate change-related issues such as frequent droughts and dry spells. Innovation platforms that support integrated crop-and-livestock systems and particularly increase women farmers’ ability to grow and monetize high-value crops and livestock can significantly mitigate the challenges faced by them and improve their livelihoods. By encouraging women to participate in processes of market development, capacity building and infrastructure improvement, a gender-sensitive framework can be implemented and maintained sustainably