The nature and extent of participation by small scale farmers in the Development Aid from People to People Farmers' Club project in Mazowe District of Zimbabwe
The conventional top-down approach to development has been rendered unsustainable and is regarded as a poor strategy to achieving community empowerment and development. The past few decades have seen the promotion of bottom-up techniques whereby governments and developing agents collaborate with target beneficiaries and view them as equal partners in the development of their own communities. It is generally believed that the participation of farmers in agricultural projects improves the performance of the agricultural sector. However, despite the adoption of participatory models, agricultural societies have remained plagued by poverty. It is against this background that this research using the Mazowe District as a case study investigated the nature and extent of participation by small scale farmers in the Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Farmers’ Club in order to document the extent to which farmers have been empowered. The study made use of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to gather relevant data. Broadly the findings indicate that the participation of farmers in the DAPP Farmers' Club project was substantively high. The results also suggest that the project empowered farmers to farm more productively in the case study area. In light of the findings the study recommends that governments and NGOs should follow the values and principles of the people-centred development (PCD) theory when implementing agricultural projects as it has proven to be an empowering approach. This practice may transform societies as there is an opportunity to address societal needs at grassroots level. In view of this research it can be argued that capacitating farmers through training and improving their farming skills can improve their agricultural production.
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