Farming 101

19 Mar, 2023 - 00:03 0 Views
Farming 101 President Mnangagwa recently hosted a field day at his Pricabe Farm

The Sunday Mail

Debra Matabvu

WHEN it comes to agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency, President Mnangagwa is walking the talk.

Over the past five years, his message has been clear and unwavering – hard work and productivity are vital for national development.

He has repeatedly reminded the nation that “nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo”, and last week, he demonstrated this message through the work at his Pricabe Farm on the outskirts of Kwekwe.

The highly mechanised farm has a state-of-the-art irrigation system and a man-made dam. There is also a pump station and canals that allow water to be channelled across the farm. The farm boasts a host of other impressive infrastructure.

A variety of crops are being produced at the farm during this summer cropping season and they include maize and soyabean.

The President also produces horticultural crops. The farm has about 700 cattle and 400 goats, as well as fish.

Last Saturday he hosted a field day at the farm, and it was attended by Cabinet Ministers, diplomats, traditional leaders and Kwekwe residents.

The President revealed that, despite his busy schedule, he visits Pricabe Farm virtually every weekend.

“Every Sunday, I come to this farm. Even the Vice President (Dr Constantino Chiwenga) sometimes complains and advises me to rest, but I am here. I spend four to five hours with my brother Patrick, who is the farm manager, planning,” he said.

Farming at Pricabe started in 2002, and operations have grown in the past 21 years to exceed what was done by white former commercial farmers before the land reform programme.

“This farm was owned by Ian Smith’s father-in-law, Mr Berger. He left the farm to his son, Mr Berger Jnr, who is my neighbour. So, we have the old farmers and I, the new farmer; we collaborate and share our experiences,” President Mnangagwa told the delegates.

“However, I am sure Mr Berger Jnr here can tell you that this farm now produces five times more than his father was producing and he himself is doing better than the time his father was here.”

Exhibiting his knowledge as a successful commercial farmer, President Mnangagwa advised farmers to aim for high yields per hectare to ensure profitability.

“How do you make your farm profitable? You must know the cost — from preparation of the hectare, planting and growing of the crop, as well as harvesting,” he said.

“We also have to relate that cost to the price of the crop. How much should you produce per hectare to meet the cost of running a hectare?

“Perhaps you may discover that you need four tonnes per hectare to meet the cost of running a hectare, so if you programme yourself to produce four tonnes per hectare, you are not going anywhere.

“When we initially started farming here, we were sending between 400 and 600 tonnes per season to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). With the same land, same area now, per season, we send about 4 000 tonnes.

“If the break-even is, say, five tonnes, and we are producing 12 tonnes per hectare, do your calculations and see the amount of money that comes to my pocket.”

The President said there is need for farmers to value add their yields to maximise on production.

“We began value addition. In summer, we grow maize and soya beans, while horticulture is throughout the year. Two years ago, we started a milling company. We sell our maize to the GMB and then buy some for our milling company for processing.

“We send an excess of 2 000 tonnes of wheat to the GMB and we have our own bakery. Everyone who came here today (last week) must receive a loaf of bread and a cool drink. Everything is from this farm. We put aside 30 000 loaves for our visitors.”

He called on Zimbabweans to unite and develop the country as it was the duty of every citizen to do so.

“The Japanese built and developed Japan, the Americans developed America, the British developed Britain, the Germans, the same, the Russians developed Russia and if there is anybody here who thinks Zimbabwe is not going to be developed by Zimbabweans, find some water and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, who gave us this country,” said
the President, amid applause from the gathering.

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