Elizabeth Siyapi – a fifty-nine-year-old smallholder farmer from Khani Village in Shurugwi, Southern Zimbabwe – is actively preventing food loss and waste in her community and sharing knowledge to reduce malnutrition.
Elizabeth has been preserving food and improving year-round access to local food, which would otherwise be seasonal, since 2017.
“I have been processing and selling packaged fruits and vegetables produced locally, particularly dried mangoes, guavas, sweet potatoes, cabbages, rape, pumpkin leaves, and other indigenous vegetables like blackjack leaves, as well as Zumbani tea.”
The Livelihoods and Food Security Program (LFSP) supported Elizabeth’s involvement in food processing and preservation, information dissemination and peer to peer training. Bringing a broad spectrum of partners together, including FAO. 252 000 households have been trained under the program in food processing, post-harvest management and preservation and the use of low-cost green technologies such as solar dryers.
Knowledge on food processing and preservation has enabled farmers like Elizabeth, who grow low-value staple crops, to access markets, add value and increase household incomes.
Elizabeth earns between USD 120 and USD 180 per month from selling her dried products. She has improved her family’s prospects by building a new house, sending her children to school and investing in new opportunities. Her success underlines how farmer participation in targeted interventions, such as the LFSP, addresses the underlying causes of food insecurity and poverty. This results in more resilient and sustainable agri-food systems that empower communities at the roots.
Elizabeth is actively involved in community mobilization around food loss and waste management, including nutrition and food security. Through knowledge sharing, Elizabeth is reducing malnutrition and improving food security in the community.
“We have established seven nutrition gardens where we are growing nutritious vegetables and bio-fortified crops like orange maize, NUA 45 Beans and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. This has greatly improved child nutrition in our area."
This food hero is bringing tangible benefits to her community, while empowering others to become agents of change.