Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in Bulawayo, has ventured into integrated farming at its Springs Farm in Kensington, Umguza District, Matabeleland North as part of efforts to generate income and enhance food production.
The organisation benefited from the land reform programme and since 2012, police have been utilising the land productively.
The 206-hectare farm has an arable land which is being utilised for the production of a wide range of horticultural crops and livestock. The farm has 48 cattle being kept for beef production.
For the past 10 years, the farm has been supplying Bulawayo markets with cabbages, tomatoes and carrots among other farm produce.
The farm employs 15 people, 13 police officers and two civilians. The farm uses drip irrigation.
The farm manager Sergeant Deus Sakala said the farming project started in 2012 on a very small scale. Today, the farm has been transformed into a successful commercial farming venture.
“This farm sits on 206 hectares and since 2012, we have been growing a wide range of horticultural produce and were also into livestock farming. Our horticulture project is in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of enhancing food production. We produce cabbages, tomatoes, onions and sometimes maize, which we sell to police officers as well as members of the public,” he said.
The farm now has tomatoes, cabbages and maize.
Sgt Sakala said the farm is working towards mechanising to increase food production.
“We are working on getting equipment to expand land under cultivation in order to increase production.
Many of those working at the farm are police officers who have agricultural knowledge hence the high productivity,” said Sgt Sakala.
He said as part of their long-term plans to maximise on productivity, they are planning to engage partners.
“Our major challenge is water, which is not enough and once we secure more funds we intend to increase our hectarage and boost production so that we deliver maize to GMB. We will explore the export market once we have the capacity to produce more,” said Sgt Sakala.
Government is targeting transformation of rural and urban economies through enhancement food production, improved markets and value addition.
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 a 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.
President Mnangagwa is on record saying agriculture and sectors such as mining are key enablers in the quest to attain an upper middle-income society by 2030.
Deputy provincial police spokesperson for Bulawayo Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said as police they also have role to play in terms of food security.
Zimbabwe is an agrarian economy with most of the country’s sectors being directly and indirectly linked to the agricultural sub-sector.
“As police we do not only enforce the laws of the land, but we also have a duty to contribute to the country’s economic growth, which is why we have ventured into agriculture projects, which also help to improve food security,” said Asst Insp Msebele.
She said for the past 10 years, they have been getting food supplies from their farm.
“The fresh produce from our farm caters for our members. During our routine operations when our teams are conducting policing outside their stations, we feed them from the farm produce,” said Asst Insp Msebele.
Asst Insp Msebele said the surplus is sold to Bulawayo market with profits being ploughed back to fund activities at the farm.
Article Source: The Chronicle