Seke farmers yearn for inputs

Seke communal farmers have called on the incoming government and the private sector to partner them through provision of inputs to champion food security and revitalise the agricultural sector.

Village Headman, Richard Muungani
Village Headman, Richard Muungani

The Zimbabwean visited Muungani village under headman Richard Muungani of Chief Jinda-Musakwa Seke, which is characterised by wetlands. Most villagers cultivate various crops for both sustenance and commercial purposes. “We have plenty of water, but the lack of inputs like fertiliser, chemicals and seeds are hindering progress,” said the headman, who has taken a leading role in cultivating crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peas, carrots, covo and rape in his garden. During rainy season most people desert these cash crops in favour of maize.

“We have many sources of water that include a wetland constructed 15 years ago by a local company that dug pit-sand and made a little dam. Most gardens in this village rely on it for water,” said Muungani.

Most people in the area use cattle-drawn ploughs to cultivate their land, but most do not own a single cow and depend on hiring.

“Government should consider boosting the national herd by giving us cows that we can keep for some time so that we may take the offspring and then return them,” said Funwell Janyure (70).

“I used to have 10 cattle but they died of various diseases that I could not understand. Now I have to cultivate my fields with hoes as I cannot afford to hire,” he added. His garden is not doing well due to lack of fertiliser. “Seeds are not a problem as they are cheap in the market but, fertiliser is a challenge as a 50kg bag is going for at least $33,” he said.Christopher Chirine said lack of farming equipment such as water pumps and capital to buy potato seeds was limiting the community’s potential. “There is money in farming. Out of $120 I use to buy potato seed plus two bags of Compound C fertiliser. I can realise more than $1,200 in three months on a less than an acre from this. Imagine if I could invest $2,000,” he said.

“Our major hurdle is the market. The money that the farmer puts into his or her ventures does not match what they reap when they go to Mbare Musika or Chikwanha markets to sell their produce. These places are full of thieves and thugs who want to reap where they did not sow. Buyers like supermarkets and boarding schools should partner with us as buyers or contract partners,” he said.

One of the leading farmers in the area, Amai Funny Muungani, said through farming the family has managed to have electricity and send children to university.

“We have three children. Our eldest son is studying medicine at National University of Science and Technology and we have managed to have electricity stalled at our homestead, through farming,” she said.

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