Working Towards Community prosperity
Our contribution to Education, Healthcare and Sustainable Business Development.
Conservation Agriculture is an agricultural method that has been specifically designed for the small scale African farmer. It introduces an appropriate method to increase yield and impact livelihood in a truly sustainable manner.
Working with Foundations for Farming, an organization dedicated to improving sustainable farming practice for both small and large-scale growers in Zimbabwe, Rift Valley (through its Northern Farming subsidiary) continues to introduce and promote the principles of conservation agriculture to its farmers. These principles have widespread impact, with the techniques being dispersed within communities as they are seen to universally increase yields.
The conservation agriculture method based on the following key principles;
- Minimum soil disturbance
- Provision of soil cover – mulch
- Use of Crop mixing and rotation
- Use of high management techniques
- Timely implementation of all operations
- Precision farming
- Efficient application and use of inputs – ‘bang for buck’
Through the above method, yields improve and inputs are reduced. Furthermore, land retains its’ agricultural potential without degradation, allowing for sustainable land use whilst maintaining bio-diversity in the region.
Rift Valley facilitates Training and Support to allow farmers to develop from subsistence farming to the running of a business on the farm. This directly impacts the prosperity of families and communities in East and Southern Africa.
Agronomy, Logistical and Management support of Rift Valley’s ougrowers is an essential factor to successful production. Rift Valley assists Tea, Maize and Tobacco growers in the region. An example of this successful mentorship is seen with Northern Farming (NF) growers, who regularly attend training courses and workshops that focus principally on Conservation Agriculture Agronomy and Farming as a Business Training. NF also encourages farmers to attend in-house courses, which empower the grower to farm higher yielding crops and manage a sustainable income. The knowledge and skills gained allow growers to transition to farming is a business.
NF has consistently been aiming to be a leader in contract farming. Support methods to assist farmers maintain their success include:
- The promotion of Weather Index (drought) insurance in association with COMESA
- The facilitation of Mobile Banking for its growers
- Promotion of group/syndicate agreements which encourage farmer groups to be peer based, with the acknowledgment of joint cooperation and liability
- Introduction of Conservation Agriculture mechanization, on a small scale level, e.g. ox drawn planters and hand hoe planters
Our vision – Rift Valley has plans to roll-out a bold, intensively monitored experiment in the provision of a specifically designed, high technology curriculum, constructed by educational visionaries in Europe. This method has the potential to revolutionize education for the poorest communities around the world. Schools involved in this development will include:
Tea Estates – The company provides schools for employees’ children, including kindergarten, and primary schools up to the age of 14 years old. The primary schools have over the years provided a good quality of education for its students and have performed highly in the national league tables. The company also provides creches for staff to provide care for their children during working hours.
Banana plantation – In a population with 60% illiteracy (2010), Matanuska’s farm school for around 700 pupils will make a huge difference to the opportunities of young Mozambicans in the area.
The Rift Valley Group currently functions in Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and employs up to 10,000 people. Additionally, its’ contract farming and agricultural trading activities directly engages a further 10,000 farmers. Based on an average household of five family dependants, Rift Valley’s developmental impact in the region is substantial, influencing the prosperity, health and edification of over 200,000 people.
Our Employee Wellness Programmes (EWP), which address HIV and AIDS and other health conditions, are an integrated approach. We have an award winning Wellness campaign in Zimbabwe, which has impacted over 70,000 people; employees, their families and outgrower farming communities in the Nyazura and Guruve areas of the country.
Upon recognition of the relationship between employee well-being and day to day productivity at different levels of work, Rift Valley decided on the idea of developing a comprehensive Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) in 2011. The EWP is a follow on from a successful HIV and AIDS Programme, and is critical to the long-term viability of businesses through reduced health care costs and absenteeism, leading to improved productivity. The overall goal of the EWP is “Promoting Employees’ health and facilitating employees’ and their families’ awareness of the importance of safe and healthy lifestyles”.
Community health – As part of our contribution to community welfare, Rift Valley has developed clinics within our more remote and least serviced areas of operation, including:
Rift Valley Forestry in rural Mozambique – The company has made social investment in community health, with the construction of two complete and equipped local clinics that service thousands of people who previously had many miles to travel to reach healthcare services.
The Tea Estates in Tanzania – Medical dispensaries are located at each estate, providing free medical care for all employed staff and their families in the local community. The dispensaries carry a full medical staff including a doctor, clinical officers and maternity nurses. They provide accident & emergency, inpatient facilities, diagnostic laboratories and carry a full medicine stock. They also deliver HIV testing and antiretroviraltreatment.
As part of community Wellness, Rift Valley supports a number of rural sporting initiatives, encouraging competitive exercise within a number of rural communities. Soccer, netball and volleyball teams are sponsored by the provision of equipment and clothing.
Rift Valley believes that the private sector can act as a catalyst to assist sustainable development of agriculture and business within rural African communities. Aside from our outgrower models, we are also in the process of developing specific Private, Public. Partnerships (PPP’s) within a remote area of northern Mozambique’s Niassa province as part of our Conservation and Sustainability initiative, The Luatize Integrated Resource Management Area. The aim of this initiative is to create a strong core of like-minded community elders, businessmen, politicians, conservationists, NGO’s and academics that will together build a feasible model of sustainability for the area