Zimbabwe food crisis: Could sorghum and millet replace maize?

“I don’t have a crystal ball but if you look at what we know today in terms of climate impact, the war on Ukraine, the disrupted supply chains, and the need for a nation to be self-reliant, then that is the way to go,” said Mia Seppo, the UNDP’s Zimbabwe representative.

But there are numerous obstacles to overcome – including the fact that production of the traditional grains is still very low with few farmers taking it up. Only 377,000 metric tonnes were produced last year, compared to 2.7 million metric tonnes of maize.

To increase productivity, the UNDP is helping to roll out threshing machines.

The Svosves say their machine – which they share with other families in their community – has made a huge difference, reducing the threshing time to less than an hour. It would have taken several months if it was done manually.

Seeing the Svosves as a model of success, Ms Seppo said traditional foods could make a big comeback in Zimbabwe, just as they have in other parts of the world.

“There has been a resurgence in the popularity of quinoa, the ancient superfood originating from South America. My hope is that Zimbabwe’s indigenous grains will also become fashionable again,” she said.-bbc

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