WFP's logistics support to GIZ's largest agricultural project in Zimbabwe has seen farmers improve their yields and food security for their families (Photo: GIZ).
In Zimbabwe, WFP and the German Government’s development agency, GIZ, are working together to improve the food security of vulnerable people in rural Manicaland. Since 2009, not only has WFP managed the logistics and warehousing of GIZ’s largest agricultural project in Zimbabwe, but recently the project has also adopted WFP’s style of distribution plans and locations.
Manicaland is a semi-arid region in Zimbabwe’s east, where farmers find it difficult to grow food. GIZ’s project aims to boost agricultural production by providing farmers with tools and seeds for their plots. Priority is given to seeds that improve the diversity of production, as well as those with high nutritional benefits. These seeds and tools arewell adapted to the agro-ecological and economical conditions of the households who receive them.
At the moment, WFP is managing the warehousing and quality control of the seeds and tools, transport to and delivery receipts at the various distribution points, stock movement documentation, as well as casual labor and insurances for GIZ’s project.
“We share a mutual goal to address the food insecurity of these people,” WFP’s Head of Logistics Vladimir Jovcev says. “Together, we have a greater impact.”
GIZ’s Project Coordinator Dr. Ulrich Weyl says that the two organizations complement each other, and that a strong partnership has developed.
“WFP has capacities that we could never have unilaterally,” he explains. “They have a comprehensive logistics system, and we took advantage of that.”
“You don’t do yourself any favours trying to manage everything on your own. Use those who are skillful, experienced and have the organizational structures and qualified personnel in place,” he says.
Initially, WFP was only assisting with warehousing and storage, however this quickly expanded.
“If we were organizing our own transporters and one of the trucks broke down, we have no capacity to replace it, which would result in delays,” Weyl says. “WFP has large tenders with transporters and much more leverage, so with one phone call a replacement truck would be on its way.”
The two organizations have worked together in several other countries. For example, in Nepal, WFP has provided food for GIZ’s ‘Food for Work’ programmes, and GIZ has implemented food storage, distribution and infrastructural development activities for WFP’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation.
Furthermore, WFP has worked with GIZ International Services in South Sudan, Guinea, Mali and Kenya for the rehabilitation and construction of rural feeder roads in order to facilitate food distributions in remote areas.
“Through these experiences, one learns to appreciate the capacities and capabilities of the other organization,” Weyl says.
Gradually, the two organisations are strengthening their partnership at field level in Manicaland. With similar areas of intervention, GIZ and WFP share notes on the food insecurity situation.
“We can’t generate detailed reports on the erratic rainfall, long dry spells, lost harvest and reduced yields like other organisations can, so we depend on data from other sources, such as WFP,” Weyl says.
The end result? Since its launch, all farmers benefitting from GIZ’s agriculture project have received all seeds and tools on time.
In combination with the training that was supported by the project, GIZ’s intervention has improved yields and therefore the food security of the benefitting households. Especially in the drier parts of Mutare District, the promotion of drought-tolerant crops such as small grains and sesame was a success.
Looking ahead, GIZ is looking to formalize a similar logistics management agreement with WFP’s team based in Masvingo, another region of Zimbabwe where GIZ is running a similar agriculture project.