Rumbidzai Ngwenya Features Writer
“I don’t see myself doing anything else besides farming, it’s the way to go. What makes farming effortless for me is my passion for it. I also prefer living at the farm with my family because it makes management easier and it’s peaceful.
“I would encourage married farmers to involve their wives in farming because women make great partners in keeping everything together. Ever since I became partners with my wife, the business has been doing much better.”
These are the sentiments of 33-year-old full-time farmer Takudzwa Karimanzira who operates from Kurima Colga Farm in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East. And ever since his wife, Paidamoyo (29), joined him in 2013, farming has become a family business.
The couple has been working side by side for the past five years. Their farm specialises in maize production, under both Command Agriculture and private funding. They are also into all year round cabbage farming. Karimanzira’s decision to take on farming came after his father, who owned the farm, passed on.
He is glad he made the decision as the farm is doing well. Although business is booming, Karimanzira faces challenges such as lack of markets for his produce and funding.
“Our country does not have schemes that accommodate A2 farmers, for example in the horticulture industry the only market within reach is Mbare. Of which provision of inputs or markets would make horticulture more favourable,” said Karimanzira.
Lack of financial support has also stalled him as banks, with their stringent conditions, had made it quite impossible for farmers like him to access loans.
“As a young Zimbabwean farmer it’s difficult because financial institutions do not recognise the youth and their loan facilities are inaccessible. Even if we do come across them they want collateral of which is difficult,” he said.
However, Command Agriculture had made his life much easier and a stepping stone to where he is today.
“Command Agriculture has been very helpful towards farmers, especially the youth because it does not really consider collateral. We have also been approached by companies that give tomato farming contracts which are working and recognising youth in farming,” he said.
Kurima Colga Farm has 20 employees and employs seasonal workers if there are any extra tasks like weeding and chemical applications.
The farm employs close to 50 employees during the year. They have maize dryers and silos for drying and storing maize on site. Around the area, they lease their equipment to harvest maize, soya bean and wheat for other farmers.