Meet the Emerging Farmer: Ruramiso Mashumba

Wednesday, September 30, 2015



Ruramiso Mashumba is a farmer and founder of Chomwedzi Farm, located about 20 km from Marondera, Zimbabwe. Not only is she growing for export, she is also a young leader in the Zimbabwe Farmer Union, a leading farmer association. Emerging Farmer sat down with her, to talk about how she got started, staying present and her vision for the future. 

Devoted, motivated and strong-willed are three words that would describe, 29-year-old, Ruramiso Mashumba, a young lady who decided to go against the grain, and make a living farming.

With 117 hectares of gum trees, 10 hectares of maize, four hectares of soya and a plan to grow peas in the winter, her assertiveness is evident in the number of hectares she has under  production in Marondera. In the beginning, her authority was undermined because she was a woman.

Her studies in the UK made her especially realize the differences, but also the similarities between European and Zimbabwean farming. With this knowledge, Ruramiso is always keen on new approaches, ideas, and technologies.

How did your farming journey start?  Do you come from an agricultural background?

I studied farming in high school at Watershed College in Marondera. The school is strong in educating young people in agriculture. That’s when my farming career began at the age of 17. At that time, my dad also bought a farm next door to school.

I grow peas for export, and brown organic rice, green mealies, potatoes, gum trees, and vegetables.

What was the catalyst for you to becoming a farmer?

My education and upbringing made me who I am today.

How did your educational and training background assist you in starting your own farming business?

I did a diploma in Agriculture first and got a First Class and two distinctions then I did B.A. (Hons) in Agriculture Business Management in the United Kingdom (UK).

Tell us about a typical day on the farm?

I start work at 6am. I have a quick meeting with workers.  And do the rounds around the farm and the day ends at 7pm.

Tell us a little about your team?

I am proud to say I have a committed and dedicated team. I have 3 people who run the irrigation daily from 6am till about 4pm. I have a foreman who does record keeping like millimetres (mm) of rain, records activity, monitors activities, and other things. I also work with agronomists who supply us chemicals from Agricura (a local company) who are willing to come and help with external services.

What lessons have you learned in your farming entrepreneurial journey so far?

I have learned that you need to be present to win. It is important as farmers to actually live and visit your project daily. Also, no man is an island. Connect with people who sell you seed, fertilizers and chemicals. Get them to visit you.

What are the challenges you face as a Zimbabwean farmer?

I think the challenge I face is in Zimbabwe is access to everything is not easy. To buy equipment you need cash. To install irrigation you need to pay cash. So really there is not enough financial support, I would say to youth and farmers out there – if you don’t have collateral, don’t be afraid to get a loan.

What advice would give other farmers?

My advice would to new farmers is to start small. Understand how to run a business at the back of your garden before you grow, get a market first. And lastly, if you fail to try again.

What are your future plans and aspirations for you agribusiness?

I hope to be able to expand from small scale. I irrigate using an overhead system, I would like a center pivot which is more efficient. To own good quality equipment and to have a processing plant on the farm for my rice and vegetables that I will export across the region. My farm to become an agritourism place and to inspire other youth, women, and school children.





1 comment:

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