Oldest villager an inspiration

Gede wants to remain self-sufficient for the rest of his life and does not want to rely on government assistance for a living.

94-year-old Shadreck Gede with his chickens.
94-year-old Shadreck Gede with his chickens.

“I have been running chicken and crop farming projects since time immemorial as I believed in hard work. The chickens are of the broiler and the African runner type. While the runners are for family consumption, broilers are for commercial purposes. Demand for the broilers is high and the returns quite lucrative.

“Since I can no longer manage to travel to either Harare or Murewa Centre to make chicken and stock feed purchases, I send commuter omnibus crews to make the orders on my behalf. The commuter omnibus crews are quite trustworthy and willing to assist me as they regard me as their ‘Mudhara’.

“Broiler chicken lots contain no more than 100 chickens as I am not able to manage bigger projects given my advanced age and my swollen knee. The chicken lots are separated by a three week age difference to maintain a constant supply of chickens to the ever growing market.

“To protect the project from thieves I converted one of my disused spare bedrooms into a chicken run. To enable the broilers to feed throughout the night, I use a home-made paraffin light as a source of lighting and heat in the room. Though I would appreciate the government and other private well-wishers assisting people of my age with cash and kind, I want to be an exemption as I am not a welfare case. I would like to be a model of hard work and self-reliance to the youths.

“A significant number of youths have attempted to venture into commercial chicken projects without success. They lacked the pre-requisite technical knowhow and dedication. All the same, youths and other adults should appreciate that chicken projects are “an open cheque” as the demand for chicken meat continues to rise, particularly during the festive seasons. Prices for chickens balloon over Christmas and New Year holidays.

“A broiler chicken which takes only six weeks to reach maturity fetches an average $7. Food outlets which make bulk purchases offer $6 per chicken. Some of our clients buy at $2.20 per kilogramme and this is beneficial to me as my chickens weigh an average 3.6kg each. Given the lucrative nature of the project, raising chickens is a great industry for young people to get involved in.

“Besides the chicken project I do commercial vegetable farming. At present some of the crops such as water-melon, butter-nut, maize and gem squash are about to reach maturity. In a good season I harvest truck-loads of the produce and make deliveries to markets in Marondera, Murewa and Harare. I have managed to sustain my family from farming.

“Although my pace has slowed down due to old age, I still achieve my farming objectives. Old age is no impediment, but an inevitable challenge.”

Local community leadership described Gede as a model of both hard work and self-reliance in the village.

Gede said he would rest peacefully in his grave should he die without ever relying on the government and donor organisations for food handouts.

Post published in: News

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