Until the 1980s, Zimbabwe was known as the 'Switzerland of Africa'; today it has the lowest life expectancy in the world and a rising inflation rate of over 10.000 %: the rapid deterioration of the economy is obvious. This instability has severe repercussions for the people of Zimbabwe, who are struggling for their social and economic survival.
Through long-term partnerships, KAITE supports the organic production of essential oils made from fragrant plants, as well as the cultivation of medicinal plants, herbs, and staple foods. Farmers affiliated with KAITE grow these plants which are then processed by KAITE. The organisation assists its farmers through training in organic agriculture and arranging for global fair trading schemes for their products. This is the basis for the future independence of small farmers from development aid.
KAITE launched this initiative in Zimbabwe in March 2007. In the initial phase, organic cultivation methods, in accordance with EU certification standards, were employed on five hectares of land. Seventy farming families are now being trained in sustainable agriculture and the cultivation of marketable cash crops on this land. This will enable them to become not only efficient subsistence farmers, but also to generate a regular income from their land.
KAITE has teamed up with Silveira House, the Leadership Training and Development Education Centre of the Jesuits in Zimbabwe (http://www.silveira.co.zw/). They have a showcase garden where fragrant, medicinal plants and herbs, as well as staple foods are cultivated. As a training centre, Silveira House plays an important role in informing many people from different backgrounds about KAITE's activities.
KAITE is a Zimbabwean-German agricultural initiative. In Shona, the language of the majority of Zimbabweans, the expression KAITE means 'a task to be conscientiously fuflfilled'. And in old German, 'farm of the smallholder'.