Fellow Since 2002
The Njeremoto Enterprises
This profile was prepared when Osmond Mugweni was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Imported during the colonial era, the livestock practices used for decades in Zimbabwe have destroyed land, decreased productivity of livestock farmers, and accelerated desertification, which threatens not only Zimbabwe but many parts of the African continent. To steer livestock farmers toward a solution that offers immediate and long-term benefits, Osmond has developed a land management system that combines components of traditional knowledge and farming practices with modern agricultural techniques. He trains farmers to herd collectively, allowing them to maximize their holdings. His approach prevents overgrazing–and the irreversible soil erosion it precipitates–by carefully regulating grazing to allow pastures to recover fully between grazing cycles. Osmond has shown that this approach yields useful environmental, economic, and social benefits. It ensures long-term sustainability of arid and semiarid regions, brings together farmers in a collective endeavor from which they earn more money, and restores the farmers' connection to each other and to the land. Osmond is working through universities in the U.K. and elsewhere to share his methodology more broadly with academics and development workers.