Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
FARMERS in the Matabeleland region have said they continue to record resounding success in poultry and horticultural production after receiving training from the Turning Matabeleland Green (TMG) as part of moves to turn farming into business.
TMG, is a local non-profit making organisation that seeks to develop a network of competent farmer partners to meet the country’s growing food and export needs.
In an interview, a farmer in Montgomery on the outskirts of Bulawayo, Pastor Moss Tshuma said with the knowledge he was equipped with from the training programmess, he has taken farming as a business.
“The training l received from TMG in 2018 has assisted me to take farming as a business. From our projects here on the plot, in poultry we are making about US$3 600, while in horticulture we clock about US$1 000 per cycle. The training assisted us to implement farming on best standards so as to improve our productivity,” he said.
Pastor Tshuma said with 1 800-layer birds, he was getting within a range of 1 300 to 1 400 eggs per day which translated to US$300 per month. Pastor Tshuma said he was working on developing a 10 000-capacity fowl run for broilers.
“Our aim is to fix the infrastructure and equip our whole space by the end of the year, so that by 2022 we can be able to start achieving a target of US$100 000. This is possible from both our projects of poultry and horticulture.”
Pastor Tshuma said small scale farmers should take training sessions seriously as they assist to be productive and produce good yields in farming as a business.
Mr Albert Sibanda, a farmer in Ntabazinduna Ward 7, said training programmes have improved his horticulture production as he was recording profits in a range of US$4 000 to US$5 000 from tomato sales.
“Before the training we would just farm for family consumption, but TMG trainings were an eye opener for us that farming as a business is the way to go. We ventured into tomatoes production where we would record profits in the range of US$4 000 to US$5 000,” he said.
Mr Sibanda said profits from horticulture production aided them to buy a truck for business that has eased transport issues to the market.
He said training introduced them to better ways of farming and how they could utilise their 101 hectares piece of land.
“This year we are working on starting to plant pepper for export. We are also looking forward to venture into potatoes and see how much profit we can make from them, but we will not neglect tomatoes as well as we have seen how profitable they are for us.”
Mr Sibanda encouraged other farmers to take training as an important tool to improve production and learn from others how to farm properly for business. A young farmer from Figtree, Mr Derrick Katusha said with a background in ranching, the training assisted him venture into horticulture.
“The benefit of horticulture is that money comes in every two months unlike with the cattle which take time to sell and usually the prices vary on the market depending on the season. TMG trainings assisted me to see potential in horticulture,” said Mr Katusha.
He said from the training he gathered, farming has many variables and when done properly, people could reap enormous benefits of its business side.
Mr Katusha said: “For 2021 we are working on a 20 000-chicken farm with four chicken houses with biogas and a chicken abattoir as well. At the same time as an engineer by profession l am working on designing an irrigation system so that soon we can start growing potatoes.”
TMG has to date trained more than 14 000 small-scale farmers under their programme. Topics covered in the training programmes include horticulture, poultry (broilers, layers and sasso), dairy, beekeeping, peacan nuts, business plan and record keeping, marketing and opportunities in Zimbabwe among others.