By Nomsa Maseko
Hi, my name is Nomsa Maseko. I am well known as Mrs Maseko. I am a mother by God’s grace and a farmer by choice. I have just come back from a 10 days visit to Bikita, Zimbabwe. I went there with EarthLore and Mashudu, Method and Mike, to represent a group of Mpumalanga farmers.
The purpose of this journey was for me to learn about different varieties of traditional seeds and seed keeping.
First, I want to say, I was surprised to see the people of Zimbabwe so healthy and strong because that is not the picture I had in mind. I thought I would meet skinny people who suffer from hunger. I am glad to know that people of Zimbabwe grow their own nutritious food, and they have chickens, cows, goats and more.
The first meeting I attended was about preparing for the seed fair. I met farmers from Mabheka Garden, Dede Garden and Chamas garden. They were all prepared for the exhibition that was to take place in three days’ time. About 20 people from each group were ready to demonstrate at least 10 seed varieties to the government of Zimbabwe to show that they can grow their own food, and do not spend lots of money buying food but can spend it on something else.
The 23th August, the actual day of the exhibition, farmers were excited and ready to display their seeds.
The day went well. The farmers were dancing with joy and singing songs of inspiration, “As a farmer you must be resilient until you defeat hunger”. The other song they sang says, “Stomach has hunger and hunger has no holiday”.
On the second day the government representatives and the chiefs addressed the farmers to support and motivate them by saying that farming is important, and helps the government to save a lot of money that would be spent on buying nutritious food outside the country. The nurse from the Health Department said: “The traditional food you grow is healthy and it prevents many diseases”.
After lunch, the judges gave first prize to the farmer who had many seeds, and the most different varieties of traditional seed. The farmers celebrated on their way to collect their prizes with lots of joy and dancing. Although there was not enough time for seed sharing I still managed to get some seeds.
Thank you to EarthLore for giving me this opportunity. I have learned so much and now I know it is possible for me to develop a group of farmers and work together as a team.
Now it’s time for me to plant my seeds from Zimbabwe.