WATCH: 24 years later, female commercial farmer has never looked back

The Chronicle

Flora Fadzai Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter

FEMALE farmers are defining the country’s farming success story with many contributing significantly to the nation’s food security as they compete with their male counterparts.

One such famer is Ms Duduzile Ncube (43) of Umguza District in Matabeleland North province. Having benefited from the Presidential Inputs Scheme, Ms Ncube planted 4-hectares of wheat at her family plot measuring 10 hectares and is expecting to harvest 20 tonnes next month.

Zimbabwe is targeting to harvest 383 500 tonnes of wheat from 75 000 hectares to ensure self-sufficiency. The country needs at least  400 000 tonnes of wheat a year to meet its flour demand.

Winter wheat in Zimbabwe is grown under irrigation and the production period is from May to October.

In 2021, 66 436 hectares were put under winter wheat supported by Presidential, National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS) commonly known as Command Agriculture and Private Sector Scheme. Farmers under the Presidential Inputs Scheme receive seed, fertilisers and chemicals on credit against delivery of the crop but are expected to pay for electricity and labour.

Since venturing into commercial farming 24 years ago, Ms Ncube has never looked back as her agriculture project is paying dividends.

She developed a strong passion for farming at a young age. At 19 after completing her Ordinary Level studies at Msiteli High School in Bulawayo’s Mpopoma suburb, Ms Ncube took farming seriously.

Ms Ncube said she is also involved in horticulture and Bulawayo is providing the market.

“I am expecting a bumper harvest of at least 20 tonnes of wheat, which I planted in June and by end of next month it will be ready for harvest,” said Ms Ncube.

She said was inspired by her parents who were small-scale farmers.

“Both my parents and grandparents were farmers and I am just following in their footsteps. After finishing my O-level studies, I decided to join my grandparents in farming,” she said.

Ms Ncube said she has been involved in farming for almost 24 years now.

“I am actually grateful to my family for entrusting me with the plot, which I am utilising productively,” she said.

Ms Ncube said she engaged people from her neighbourhood to assist her in terms of labour.

“They help me with ploughing since I am not only focusing on wheat. I have also planted cabbages, onions, maize and garlic, which I sell to supermarkets and individuals,” she said.

Ms Ncube relies on an electricity-powered engine to pump water from the borehole to the fields. However, due to intermittent power cuts, there have been disruptions to her farming activities.

“Load shedding is giving me problems as it disrupts farming and this has also affected the growth of my crops, especially wheat,” she said.

Ms Ncube said through farming, she 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 transforming both rural and urban economies through enhanced food production, improved nutrition, good marketing of farm produce which in turn creates jobs.

Zimbabwe envisages to be an upper middle- income economy by 2030 and agriculture is critical in the attainment of this vision.

— @flora_sibanda

Article Source: The Chronicle

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