Varsity graduate partners parents in horticulture

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
SOON after successfully completing his studies in business management and entrepreneurship at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) early this year, Mr Ayanda Manzini-Moyo (26), did not bother to look for a typical white-collar job.

Instead, he saw an opportunity in farming and partnered with his parents in a horticulture project at a 12-hectare family farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo.

Through their farming enterprise, Mr Manzini Moyo has joined other farmers in the country who have taken a bold step towards boosting food security in the country.

He said he was inspired by his father, Mr Mthokozisi Manzini-Moyo, who retired from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in July 2020, to venture into farming.

(Picture right) Qinisani Ncube and Mehluli smile after harvesting carrots

At the moment, Mr Manzini-Moyo has planted 50  000 cabbages, beetroot, leafy vegetables and onions and carrots at Esivandeni Farm in Umguza District, Matabeleland North Province.

“We try as much as possible to rotate our crops starting with heavy feeders or leafy crops then followed by root crops which are beetroots and carrots and then the leguminous ones, which are beans and peas.

We also put butternuts, which replenish soil nutrients,” said Mr Manzini-Moyo.

Mr Manzini-Moyo said his father, an experienced farmer, started farming in 2002 after acquiring land under the land reform programme.

“After realising that farming is a viable business, my mother who was a cashier at one of the leading bakeries in Bulawayo, quit her job with my father retiring to venture into full time farming in July 2020,” he said.

“After completing my degree, I didn’t bother to look for formal employment because I discovered that there is money in farming, which is why I partnered with my parents and we are running a thriving horticulture project in Umguza.”

Mr Manzini-Moyo said they are planting their crops in stages so that they maintain a continuous supply in the market.

“We simply separate in terms of planting so that we don’t starve our market.

We supply various shops in the city including restaurants and vendors among others with carrots, leafy vegetables, cabbages, peas and beetroot.

We are however, failing to satisfy our market in terms of lettuce, cucumber and the challenge is that we don’t have a greenhouse since these crops require a specific weather for them to grow,” he said.

“We are however, in the process of sourcing funds so that we can construct a greenhouse.

I am also working on a poultry project and we have dedicated a section of the farm for that project.”

The farm employs 12 workers, eight of which are seasonal workers while the remainder are permanently employed.

Mr Manzini-Moyo said they harvest after every three months.

To cut on the expenses, Mr Manzini-Moyo said they have a nursery where they produce their own seedlings for transplanting.

“We need at least US$6 000 to construct a greenhouse so that we are able to supply the market.

I have a contract with a restaurant and they need cucumber and lettuce on a daily basis, but I can’t produce enough without a greenhouse,” he said.

Mr Manzini-Moyo said some of the challenges they face include theft of copper cables, which disrupts farming activities given that they rely on electricity to power the engine pump.

“Once there is a disruption in water supply, it affects the quality of our products.

We draw water from Umguza River and there is a canal which runs from the river into our small inlet dam,” he said.

“We then pump the water using our engine and it gets into the field via underground hydrants.

However, once we secure funds, we intend to drill a borehole and introduce drip irrigation, which will help conserve water and electricity as well as improve on the quality of our farm produce.”

Mr Manzini-Moyo said through farming, he hopes to contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth.

Zimbabwe is an agrarian economy with most of the country’s sectors being directly and indirectly linked to the agricultural sub-sector.

Government is targeting transformation of rural and urban economies through enhancement of food, nutrition, markets, and jobs using value chains, including the horticulture sector, as a means of achieving a prosperous, inclusive, diverse, sustainable and competitive agriculture sector.

Zimbabwe envisages to be an upper middle-class economy by 2030 and agriculture is critical in the attainment of that vision, with the sector targeting to become an US$8,2 billion economy by 2025.

The Horticulture Recovery Plan, which was launched in 2020, is part of Government initiatives under Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy (2020-2025) to transform agriculture from a US$5,2 billion to a US$8,2 billion sector, contributing 20 percent of GDP by 2025 in line with the vision of making Zimbabwe an upper middle-income economy.

President Mnangagwa is on record saying agriculture and sectors such as mining are the key enablers on which the vision of an upper middle-income society by 2030 should be built.
– @mashnets

Article Source: The Chronicle

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