Created in 2002, the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) “envisions improved livelihoods of organized and empowered smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe practicing sustainable and viable ecological agriculture and its mission statement is to influence policies and public awareness towards agro ecology and smallholder farmers’ rights”. Its national reach is realized through the organization of four regional clusters (Northern, Eastern, Central and Western Clusters) of local farmers’ organizations. A total of 19,000 farmers are currently members, organised in four regional clusters, covering the whole country except the regions of Harare and Bulawayo. Households in each region are organised as a group; a number of these form a Smallholder Farmers Organisation (SFO), and several SFOs form a cluster.
ZIMSOFF is the voice of the smallholder farmer determined to keep focus on lobby and advocacy work with a variety of stakeholders at different levels from local to national as well as being part of international efforts. Its focus is on issues affecting farmer relate to family agriculture, care of the land, agro ecology, biodiversity, agrarian reform, seed and food sovereignty and gender parity and articulating them to further its membership interests. ZIMSOFF ensures that farmers are represented at various forums as well as developing linkages amongst themselves and to opportunities across the nation, the region and beyond.
ZIMSOFF’s highest governing body is the Annual General Meeting that is open for all farmers who are members to ZIMSOFF. The forum has a National Council (11 women and 10 men) elected from the four clusters that elect the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees (a Trust serves as legal structure for the organization).
ZIMSOFF operates with a small secretariat comprising the National Coordinator, the Programme Officer, Finance Officer and a Secretary that is responsible for implementing the decisions of the National Council. The four volunteer cluster coordinators support the internal functioning of the clusters. ZIMSOFF also hosted the La Via Campesina’s rotating International Operative Secretariat (IOS) for the period 2014-2017. The Chairperson of ZIMSOFF was the Secretary General of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of LVC.
Always stressing the value and need for farmers’ own voices on farmers’ issues at every level.
Emphasizing enough and nutritious food from farming as the first priority from household to national levels.
Way of life
Respecting and celebrating farming as a cultural way of life, based on indigenous and local knowledge systems.
Promoting Agro-ecology as the appropriate and modern future for farming in Zimbabwe based on biological diversity and bearing in mind that Agro-ecology is a practice, science and movement.
ZIMSOFF strives towards being able to keep going as an organization independent of donor funds, but accepts donor funding for specific projects.
Equity and equality
Observing equity and equality between clusters, sexes and other groups of people in the pursuit of ZIMSOFF’s mission.
Transparency and accountability
Communicating openly and honest in all our conduct, answerable to one another and to others, as we stand for what we believe in with integrity.
Respect and trust
Always being respectful of each other and of others as we strive to cultivate deep levels of trust amongst ourselves as smallholder farmers and with allies involved in the same movement.
To be honest, reliable and upright in our conduct as well as to stand for what we believe.
Cultivate confidence and self-reliance among smallholders to avoid hurting each other.
Treat every member equally with the same rights irrespective of their region, gender, age or beliefs.
Transparency and accountability
Openness and truthfulness in our conduct and being answerable to one another and to others.
Holding high opinion of each other and of others, valuing each other and nurturing the esteem of fellow organic smallholder farmers as well as keeping our promises.