Silobela is an agricultural village in Kwekwe district. That part of the district falls in Agricultural Region 4. Due to dwindling amounts of rainfall in the past decade, crop outputs have worsened further and the people have adopted gold panning as a common income generating activity. Despite the diminishing rains, wild trees, such as the Manketti tree and the Wild Plum, still fruit very well. Melons, both cultivated and wild, also grow well.
Elizabeth is a 68-year-old widow taking care of a family of 9 in Mpinda ward. She used to sell garden vegetables in her neighbourhood. However, the income would only allow her to pay for milling of a bag of maize for her family.
Melons are a common, abundant crop in Silobela, such that no one sells them to anyone. Farmers eat them and feed their livestock on them. Amazingly, they grow and fruit well when there is less rain.
Selling wild melon seed was something new to everyone in the village. Elizabeth sold 35kgs of melon seed to BIZ after a training a few months earlier. With the money she paid for clearing of more land to plant more melons in the next season, bought grain to supplement her food reserves for the family, paid school fees and bought clothes for her grandchildren. She is planning to sell many more seeds after the next rainy season so that she can buy grain for food instead of trying to farm it which always fails because the rains haven’t been good in the past few years.