Nqobile Tshili,Chronicle Reporter
MR Lameck Sibanda from Silozwi village in Matabeleland South used to be a curio vendor working either in Victoria Falls or Harare before he quit his job to support his wife, a poultry farmer at their homestead.
Mr Sibanda, a senior citizen says the proceeds from poultry project has enabled him to buy a car, build a house and even drill a borehole, something he wasn’t able to do in his very long career as a vendor.
He is not shy to say that he did not contribute much in the poultry project as his wife who only preferred to be identified as Mrs Sibanda did most of the work.
Mr Sibanda said his wife was indeed the boss in the poultry project that has transformed the family’s lives for the better.
The family joined the Sondela Range out-grower scheme being run by successful commercial farmer Mr Peter Cunningham working with his partner Turn Matabeleland Green director Bishop Patson Netha.
The out-grower scheme is meant to assist small holder farmers to realise maximum profits from their farming projects.
Under the scheme, villagers who are first trained on how to run a poultry project, are provided with chicks, stock feed and necessary chemicals and the commercial farmer then buys the chickens.
The villagers are also trained in horticulture, ostrich and cattle rearing for commercial purposes and the projects speak to rural industrialisation, a strategy adopted by Government to uplift rural lives and reduce rural-urban migration.
Mrs Sibanda who keeps more than 1 000 chickens at any given time, said the poultry project has moved the family from poverty to affluence.
“I used to have serious water challenges but since I started this project I have addressed that problem.
Now I have a borehole at my homestead and and the family is guranteed adequate water for domestic and agricutlure use.
We have managed to power our home with solar and constructed a modern house.
To me this is a business and it has made me realise that you can be economically productive even in our backyards,” said Mrs Sibanda, who has been involved in the out-grower scheme since 2012.
She said she is able to send her grandchildren to school from the proceeds of the poultry project.
Mr Sibanda said he is not the only one who returned home to support his wife.
“When she first told me about the project I was a curio vendor shuttling between Harare and Victoria Falls.
When she started realising profits, I came back home to support her.
In this business she is the boss. But our lives have been transformed now I drive a car and it is because of these chickens,” said Mr Sibanda.
Many villagers involved in the same project have also confirmed that their lives have been changed for the better.
A Chronicle news crew observed that almost every homestead in the Nathisa area has a fowl run.
Mrs Winniefrida Ncube from Tombo village said she started the project in 2016 after realising the success stories of other women.
She said just two weeks ago she got a payment of $100 000 for the chickens she supplied.
“I have managed to send my children to school without challenges. I’m fully paid up in terms of fees.
“I’ve managed to build a two roomed house.
I bought a scotch cart and cattle among other assets.
Those who started before me have managed to even drill boreholes at their homes,” said Ms Ncube.
She however said their only challenge were thieves who were stealing their chickens at night.
The projects have not just contributed to the reduction of rural to urban migration but have seen men returning home from neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana.
Bishop Netha who initiated the out-grower scheme said women are engines for rural transformation.
He said men usually adopt a wait and see attitude and only join when the project starts making money.
“When the women started making money from this out-grower scheme, men started supporting them and those who had left the country for the so-called greener pastures in neighbouring countries started returning home.
I know of a woman at that time we were using the US dollar who got US$10 000 from the proceeds of her poultry project,” said Bishop Netha.
He said what is encouraging is that even young women are joining the out-grower scheme. –@nqotshili
Article Source: The Chronicle