With two children at tertiary education level, 57-year-old Tamari Kasiya is determined to see them live their dreams.Kasiya is a tobacco farmer and supplements her agricultural activities through crossborder trading.
“My aim is to see my children become self-sustaining and comfortable and like most parents I have to sacrifice and forgo some luxuries,” said Kasiya. “When I am not in the tobacco fields, I travel to Mozambique where I buy goods which I use to pay people who help me in the fields.”
She adds: “It does not take time for me to harvest my crop as many people come to help me and in return I give them goods I buy from Mozambique.”Kasiya used to work with her children but now some have their own families.
“The last two are at the University of Zimbabwe and Midlands State University pursuing their studies. This means that even if I want to retire from working the fields, it is not possible as those two are still my responsibility.”
Kasiya who has been farming other crops for a long time, decided to venture into tobacco farming four years ago.
“With a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders I decided to look for something with good returns and for me tobacco was the best way to go.”
Without any agricultural qualification, Kasiya seeks advice from Agricultural and Technical Extension officers and this has helped her reach her targets. “I did not have any certificate but for the first time I went to Agritex and that is where I got the tips I am still using today,” said Kasiya.
“Four years’ experience taught me that tobacco growing is not as complicated as many want to assume. What makes the difference is the individual attitude of farmers, the passion. Do you take short cuts? Do you closely monitor your crop?
“Time management is important as missing a single stage in the crop’s development compromises yield and quality,” she said.
Land preparation, nursing and fertilizer application is the correct medicine to good yield if they are practiced on time.Besides catering for her children in school, Kasiya has bought herself a Nissan Serena from her first produce.
“My lowest price is usually around $4,65 per kg. I only grow an area that I can manage. I closely monitor my crop. My focus is on quality and not quantity.”Kasiya urged other tobacco growers to attend training programmes and seek advice from their community agronomist so as to share experiences.
After 30 days of the 2017 marketing season, farmers have realised $218 million up from $172 million last season.There is a 28 percent increase in the tobacco deliveries this season with farmers delivering 79 million kg compared to 61 million kg during the same period last year.
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