From unemployed labourer to successful pig farmer

John Kadzunge, once a driver at the now defunct Kondozi Farm, was among 5,000 farm workers who lost their jobs and their homes in April 2004 when armed police and war veterans violently evicted the farmer and his entire labour force.

John Kadzunge feeding the pigs.
John Kadzunge feeding the pigs.

It was a violent seizure of Kondozi Farm, a beacon of Zimbabwe’s horticultural produce. The abrupt closure of the horticultural concern adversely affected the workers employed there, while those who stayed at the farm were rendered homeless.

It is alleged that five Zanu (PF) ministers – Didymus Mutasa, Joseph Made, Christopher Mushohwe, Munacho Mutezo and Mike Nyambuya – together with other senior party officials, went on a looting spree.

Kadzunge said he could not hold back his tears as he saw the partisan police and overzealous war veterans blocking off the road leading to the farm, looting the offices and beating anyone who sought to resist their orders.


He struggled for years to find work. Then in 2007, he and his wife Cecelia heard of the possibility of work as a driver on a tobacco farm in Nyazura. They packed up their belongings and re-located.

The couple with their three children arrived at Claire Farm during the harvest and his job was of transporting the tobacco from the farm to the auction floors among other duties. They settled into their new lives and for the next three years, he remained a driver on the farm.

In 2010, a neighbour, Golden Mushambi, who was running a small piggery project decided to sell his herd. Kadzunge bought six pigs from him, erected a sty and, using his salary, gradually expanded his project into the successful pig farm it is today.

“Suddenly, I saw the opportunity to start my own business,” recalled Kadzunge. “No one was more surprised than me. I knew nothing at all about pig farming, but felt the time had come for me to take a chance on something and dive into the deep end,” he added.

Increased profits

In 2012 he resigned from his job as a driver to concentrate on his piggery. “Now, I can’t imagine my life without this business,” he said.

“For two years I reared and sold hundreds of pigs for slaughter, but I began to see that to substantially increase profits, I needed to provide my own breeding stock instead of buying young pigs, rearing and selling them.”

“I had to work hard and learn fast. But I enjoy farming and I am glad I took the plunge,” he said. He currently has nine breeding sows and two young sows that have not yet bred. A sow will furrow twice a year which means stock increases rapidly. All of the pigs reared on the farm are bred for slaughter. Although numbers fluctuate widely, there are roughly 50 pigs in the piggery at any one time giving enough time to slaughter and breed.

“That one sow will furrow between 10 to 12 piglets. This means that after four months — which is the gestation period for a sow — the farmer will have a minimum of 50 additional stock,” he said. A sow will furrow twice a year to further increase that stock to a minimum of 100.

Small grant

With the help of the Integrated Community Development Fund (ICDF), John Kadzunge has become the highest-yielding pig farmer in the area – employing five staff from the surrounding community.

ICDF gave him a $5,000 small grant for new equipment and materials. He used the funds to get a freezer, improved-breed pigs, basic equipment, work clothes and technical assistance.

He now owns a small butchery which sells pork products to the surrounding community and regularly supplies large orders to butcheries and supermarkets in Rusape, Mutare and Harare. His future plans include opening a weekend restaurant and developing a wider market for his pork. “I give thanks because I am able to support my family. I am able to send money to my two sons who are studying at secondary and primary boarding schools,” he proudly said.

Success story

The ICDF Projects Officer Luke Mazire said Kadzunge’s project was gratifying success story. “He is a hard worker and has an enterprising spirit. These attributes combined with the training provided by ICDF agricultural specialists has enabled him to improve his production and sales levels making him the most productive pig farmer in the community. This is a very pleasing example of how some of our funding projects are excelling,” he said.

As part of efforts to improve the quality of life and diversify economies of the communities, ICDF has implemented nearly 700 community and economic development activities throughout Zimbabwe. To date, the fund has assisted 120 pig farmers.

Post published in: Agriculture
  1. Access
    • Munjehe Godfrey
      • Talent Alouis Bondamakara

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *