Home Philosophy Integral polity, integrating nature, СЃulture, society and economy
TOWARD A SELF-SUFFICIENT COMMUNITY
The contribution to a successful rapoko harvest cannot be under played. The active participation of the women has had a profound impact in the whole farming project. The village harvest has so far recorded average yields of between one and two tonnes per household unit. Most of the grain has been retained for consumption by the families. There was, however, surplus tonnage which community members agreed to sell and raise income for themselves. The surplus tonnage sold at two selling and pick up points came to 10 tonnes. Individual families brought their bags of grain (rapoko) to the central selling points and had their grain weighed and paid at the rate of USD 0.50c per kg.
The decision to buy the surplus grain from the Chinyika communities was made after the harvesting season, in 2009, when it was assessed that a good number of the Chinyika people could afford to sell some of their grain after giving consideration to the need to build food reserves. The harvesting season starts in May when the crops are harvested and put in places for the crop to dry, before they are cleaned or separated from the chaff or husks to make such ready for permanent storage in granaries. The process is usually finished in August/September each year. At the end of September families will be in a position to know how much has been harvested in terms of tonnage so that a decision on whether to sell some of it or not to sell can be made. Then the family as the household makes an assessment of their needs compared with what is available, whether to sell some of the crops or not to sell.
After the committees had also made the general assessment of the total yield of the season for the community and were satisfied that the community could afford to sell the surplus finger millet grain, the staple crop of the Chinyika people, a date at which the buyer would buy the grain from the families was set. A day in October 2009 was fixed to allow individuals time to prepare the grain for sale. Due to severe shortages of cash in the whole economic structures of the country, there were no other buyers other than the social business set up by Muchineripi's family. Chidara and Steve borrowed money from the bank for the purpose of buying the golden grain from the Chinyika people. The idea was to buy the grain, take it to Harare, leave it for three months then sell it when there is a general shortage of the grain in the market in Zimbabwe, hopefully at a profit.
Figure 6.4 Grass Turned to Gold. The day when 5,000 U.S. dollars was put into the Chinyika economy, the Chinyika people came to sell their finger millet in a long queue waiting to be saved: the day the grass turned into gold
The villagers came to sell the grain in large numbers. In order to spread the money out to as many people as possible, the maximum allowed for each family to sell was grain worth $150.00. This was the day when the dreams of the Chinyika people came true, the day when they could turn their golden grain into real gold, in the form of U.S. dollars, the official currency now in Zimbabwe (see Figure 6.4). The villagers had not been in possession of so much money for 10 to 15 years. Faced with a severe economic crisis $20 in a family was a lot of money let alone $50, which some families made while a few made up to $150. People were overjoyed, for the first time in many years, to get real money with which they could buy many things the family needed (see Figure 6.5). The local shopping centre was full of activity with villagers for the first time able to buy necessities.
The $5,000 made a real difference in the local economy. Most of the families kept the money for inputs such as fertilizers for the cropping season. The idea was to ensure better yields for the coming season so that families can sell more grains than they sold in 2009.
THE DAY FINGER MILLETT TURNED TO GOLD
This then served as a good example of what Muchineripi and Kada, together with Nakirai (Chidara's wife), wanted to achieve for the Chinyika communities where every household can sell their produce to get money to enhance household self-sufficiency. The day marked a turning point in the lives of the Chinyika people. Now they could see what Chidara and Steve wanted to achieve. The community have experienced it in a small way, which would help to put them on the ladder of development, indeed politically as well as economically, through the mediation of nature and culture. They could now see the ultimate objective clearly at the top of the ladder and were now motivated to get there faster.
Figure 6.5 Finger Millett Turns to Money. Members of the community proudly show the U.S. dollars they earned from sale of the golden grain – finger millet grain
Muchineripi Rock: Rising Together From the Ashes
This led the community to go back onto the Muchineripi rock to take the first step to creating a Learning Centre. Upon the rock of re-awakening a traditional hut has been erected and stands at the highest point of this fairly flat granite rock. This hut stands as a beacon of a community's vision, hope and intention to rise from the ashes of indigenous knowledge destruction. It is a challenge not only for the community but the nation.
The agronomy department at Cairns has contributed greatly to the transfer of farming knowledge and helped in the integration of the modern and traditional knowledge of growing rapoko. This has become the beginning of interaction that should see both the community and the private sector share knowledge and information to the benefit of all (although in 2009/2010, because of the country's economic crisis, Cairns has fallen on very hard times). Cairns as a company drew a maxim of partnership with the rural communities that stated: “Together we grow". What then, as of 2010, were the next steps towards what Trans4m would term releasing the "GENE-ius" of Chinyika, specifically, and Zimbabwe, generally?
RELEASING THE GENE-IUS OF CHINYIKA
Muchineripi and Kada were introduced, on the master's programme mentioned above, to the GENE cycle of transformation, based on Trans4m's "integral worlds". First it involved Grounding in and activation of indigenous soil, in their case most specifically that of Chinyika. Second, it involved Emergence and co-development, through a process of communal learning, in partnership with Cairns Food and its agronomists.
At the same time, Cairns Food itself was awakened to its African heritage, which led to a culturally more authentic approach to doing business. Third, a Navigational and knowledge creation (conceptualizing) role was played by the government's agricultural extension officers, by the agronomists from Cairns, and, indirectly perhaps, by Trans4m (Geneva). Finally an actualizing Effect role was played by the Chinyika people.
At this stage also, a first initial learning institution had been established: a small hut hosting the village learning centre. The ultimate effect, at first for 5,000 and ultimately seven years later for up to 300,000 villagers, was the realization, economically speaking, of food security, and socio-politically, of, if you like, an evolved polity, combing tradition with modernity. As such, there has been the auto-centric development of a village democracy, where nature and community generally, and women – natural and communal mothers so to speak – occupy pride of place. Indeed, all of such has arisen, despite, rather than because of, national politics, which has been purposefully kept out of this natural and communal process. Of course the result has been that such an integral polity, born out of nature and culture, society and economy, is not evident on a national stage. In effect Zimbabwe in particular, and Africa in general, has not yet risen, as Gyekye and Mengisteab have affirmed, nationally and regionally, to the "Southern" integral occasion.
Indeed, as we (5) intimated in our companion volume on Integral Economics, such integral structures and processes, both economic and now also political, are emerging at a "mesa" – in between micro and macro – level, but not yet at a macro one. We now turn from Africa to Asia, and from the South to the East, for our next step in our overall, integral journey.
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