Command agric turns youthful farmer into millionaire

Source: Command agric turns youthful farmer into millionaire | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Rudo Mandiro

ORDINARILY, one cannot imagine that Mr Tichafa Macheka is a multi-millionaire just by looking at him.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 32-year-old spends most of his time wandering about his farm, clad in his farming gear, inspecting his fields. His favourite pastime, which is fishing, has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 restrictions around the country.

Despite his humble looks, the Shamva farmer is anything but ordinary, as he is currently worth tens of millions of dollars and is one of the growing number of success stories, borne out of Zimbabwe’s agriculture revolution, whose wave is progressively catching on to the youths.

His farm — Springs Farm measures approximately 300 hectares of land, on which he managed to yield large harvests of maize, soyabean and potatoes.

He put 70 hectares under maize, from which he averaged a harvest of 12 tonnes per hectare. With maize currently selling at $32 000 per tonne, he expects to pocket millions, all thanks to the Command Agriculture programme that assists farmers with inputs and other forms of support. In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Mr Macheka expressed gratitude to the Government for continuing with Command Agriculture, which was introduced in 2017 and has made him a multi-millionaire.

“This year, the financial rewards are quite substantial. The rains were good, but most importantly, I am very thankful to the Government for the Command Agriculture scheme, because this is where I received inputs such as fertiliser, chemicals, and seeds.”

He said in addition to the inputs, the agronomic skills that he has earned under the programme have been helpful.

“I received agronomic support from Seed Co as well as extension offers. It is those skills in applying the right science and technology that have also enabled me to achieve up to 12 tonnes per hectare, from the 70 hectares of maize that I planted. The Government also introduced Pfumvudza last year and I also applied it and you can see, all these methods have helped me to achieve a bumper harvest. In previous years, I would average about seven or so tonnes per hectare, but this year has been a cut above the rest.”

Mr Macheka is currently harvesting potatoes and the abundance of the yield will, again, make him smile all the way to the bank.

His farm manager Mr Botomani Nyongani said the bumper potato harvest will enable them to supply different parts of the country.

“The majority of the potatoes go to Mbare Msika market, but we also supply several other parts of Zimbabwe, including Bulawayo, where we have orders from a number of supermarkets.”

Mr Macheka has his hand in many pots, as he also owns more than 100 cattle and a thriving poultry project. He said although he grew up in the high-density suburb of Highfield in Harare, he has always had a passion for farming, which his family is also involved in.

He studied for an accounting degree in Malaysia and worked there for four years.

“Despite having a comfortable job in Malaysia, the passion for farming continued to burn like a fire inside me, so I made a decision to come back and be my own accountant at my own farm.”

he has no regrets leaving the white-collar job in favour of getting “soiled and muddied” in the fields.

Mr Macheka recently married, and his wife, Rutendo, is his partner in the business.

He appealed to banks to increase financial support to farmers.

“We can easily pay back these loans and banks should just learn to trust us. There is a lot of money in these soils,” he said, his face beaming with confidence.