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< prev - next > Agriculture Irrigation infiltration pits for rainwater harvesting (Printable PDF)
This brief describes the context of dryland farming in Chivi District, Zimbabwe
and how a technology for rainwater harvesting was developed with the
Chivi District is a drought-prone area of high population density. Average annual rainfall is
530mm with drought occurring, on average, 3 years in 5. Population density is up to 70
people per km2. Average landholdings are 1.2 Ha per farmer. Subsistence agriculture is the
mainstay of people’s livelihoods. Other livelihood strategies include trading in clothes and
food, sale of agricultural surplus, gold panning, crafts and pottery production. Remittances
from migrant relatives are increasingly vital.
Wealth Rank
Description (by community members)
1 Enough assets (cattle, ploughs, carts etc) for own
use or to share
2 Enough assets for themselves but not to share
3 Some assets but no livestock for drought power -
which they borrow
4 Own very few or no assets, considered "lazy"
"helpless", "stupid"
Table 1: Wealth ranking of wards 21 and 4
% households
22 2
22 9
20 36
36 53
Women-headed households are common, many of which fall into wealth rank 4.
Chivi District is divided into wards, administered by the Ward Development Committee. Each
ward is made up of a number of administrative 'villages', run by the Village Development
Committee. There is constant rivalry and sometimes conflict between these structures. They
were established after independence and are commonly made up of younger men from
immigrant families, with traditional leadership structures based around a liage system of
sabhukas, headmen and chiefs. There are also a number of semi-formal groups, such as
farmer’s clubs, women’s garden groups and church groups.
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