It's been almost two months since we planted our first drought-tolerant crop, so we thought we'd share our background with you, how we came about, and our intentions for the future.
It was July 2016 and Swaziland (now known as the Kingdom of eSwatini) was experiencing one its worst droughts in living memory, with a reported half of the population dependant on food aid from international NGOs.
At the time, Lydia was doing her Master's at the University of Oxford, and was in Swaziland researching the barriers to drought adaptation for subsistence farmers (farmers who live off the land). Lydia, Ncobile and Musa travelled around the Swazi low-veld (the area worst affected by drought) for three weeks, interviewing subsistence farmers, community members, NGOs and local politicians. They discovered whole maize crops had been destroyed, and cattle had perished with nothing to eat and drink. Through this research, they found that despite farmers wanting to adapt, they didn't have the resources or knowledge necessary to introduce new crops.
An idea began to form. Using Ncobile and Musa's knowledge of rural communities within Eswatini, and Lydia's knowledge of farming, agriculture and drought, could they create a research-based social enterprise, that would buffer the impact of drought by inter-cropping with drought tolerant crops? After months of research and deliberation, sourcing seeds and finding land, Reviving Roots was created.
Going forward, our intentions are to create a network of farmers, who, through our programme, will be able to grow drought-tolerant crops, on land that is currently productive for both domestic and commercial benefits.
If you know of any farmers in Eswatini who would like to trial our programme, please get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org