Farming & Mining

ZFU capacitating villagers in Zhombe, Silobela

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Kwekwe district this year embarked on several projects in order to capacitate and equip farmers and villagers with farming and other vital agricultural related skills that will enable farmers in the district being capable of sustaining their livelihoods through income generating projects.

ZFU in Kwekwe district has so far facilitated a goat project at Sidakeni village in Zhombe and in some areas in Silobela, where the project has been welcomed by most villagers. Also in Sidakeni villagers have also undergone training in running a now successful piggery and poultry projects under the watchful eyes of ZFU and its other stakeholders.

In Fafi area in Zhombe farmers are running a successful poultry project where villagers are encouraged to keep indigenous chickens that are easy to maintain, also in Sidakeni, villagers are also involved in Bee farming venture. Sidakeni Bee farming is sustainable because of the availability of necessary vegetation cover or hectarage for flower production which is attractive to bees. Bees do not only produce honey from nectar and pollen only but also wax, propolis, royal jelly as the other by products. Bees wax is now used by villagers in the manufacturing of candles which are sold locally.

Most villagers in Zhombe and Silobela are venturing into rearing different breeds of pigs thereby generating enough income and also boosting their livelihoods sustenance. Main pure breeds of commercial value in Zimbabwe include large white pigs with white upright ears, and there is the Landrace which is white with floppy ears. The other is the Duroc which is brown with a tendency to bad temperament.

“ These projects are benefiting villagers as most villagers are now able to send their children to school, also they add nutritional value to most villagers diets, and above most , these projects are income generating as villagers are now having an alternative and dependable source of income. As ZFU we are urging farmers to organize themselves into commodity associations in order to negotiate their prices on commodities”, said Bridget Masikati ZFU Kwekwe district coordinator.

ZFU also facilitate markets for livestock products, but farmers have been urged to improve on quality, quantity and consistency in order to meet the demands of a lucrative market. Farmers must strategize on quality, quantity and consistency and ZFU encouraged farmers to form commodity associations in order to speak with one voice over pricing of commodities.

“We would like to thank ZFU for their support there are giving us in order to undergo these projects which have seen most villagers improving their livelihood. We no longer depend on crops as we have now ventured into poultry, piggery, goat and bee keeping projects and we wont look back, we encourage other villagers to join the projects in their respective wards”, said Thomson Hanya from Fafi in Zhombe.

In Zhombe and Silobela most farmers have organized themselves into livestock and horticulture commodity associations, but the most impeding challenge is shortage of water as most areas in Kwekwe area are prone to drought, which cannot support horticulture. Irrigation schemes in Zhombe and Silobela need rehabilitation as the existing irrigation system like Mayorca in Zhombe and Exchange in Silobela have been vandalized and have been dysfunctional for almost a decade. There are some dry areas in Snangeneni in Zhombe where villagers buy water sold by enterprising villagers from Zhombe Mission Dam.

Most challenges faced by farmers in Kwekwe district include inconsistent water supply to support horticulture and lack of coordination in every aspect of farming.

“There is a general lack of coordination in every aspect, farmers in Kwekwe need to get themselves organized and take farming serious. There is political meddling when NGOs come in to help villagers to develop sustainable projects. Political meddling starts from the District Administrators office cascading to the headman. Willing donors are sometimes frustrated by this political bureaucratic sausage machine which impacts negatively to farming activities in Kwekwe”, said a Chief in Silobela, who requested anonymity.

ZFU advised farmers to diversify and plant crops like Soya beans and other cash crops besides traditional maize.

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