Equator Initiative Case Study - Makoni Organic Farmers Association
An organic farming cooperative developed to transition away from tobacco cultivation and chemical-intensive agriculture, Makoni Organic Farmers Association is an initiative of 450 farmers trained in organic farming. The association uses a three-pronged approach that includes capacity building; scaling of good farming practices in apiculture, mushroom cultivation, poultry rearing, and tree nurseries; and organic certification to improve local livelihoods and restore degraded land. With the help of the association, 50 percent of member farmers have become organically certified. The promotion of alternative organic livelihood options – along with the introduction of organic certification standards – have helped local farmers increase incomes and facilitated access to new, more lucrative markets. In areas where tobacco cultivation and pesticide use had rendered much of the agricultural land infertile, organic farming, and the planting of multi-purpose trees have improved nutrition and increased food security, soil fertility, and biodiversity.