This week’s Emerging Famer is Munya Shamunyarira. Munya is an urban farmer and the founder of Marcus Produce, a horticulture company. Emerging Farmer spoke to him about what inspired his farming journey, working with creatives for branding and using available resources.
How and why did your farming journey begin?
Munya: I've always had a passion for farming. My journey started way back as a kid. My grandfather used to farm in Zvimba. So during the holidays we would visit their place to help out. At the end of the holidays, we would get some money for our efforts, so this cultivated a degree of appreciation for farming on my part.
Do you have a farming background?
Munya: Over the years I realised that farming was my thing so I studied Agriculture in high school and immediately after Form Four I did a certificate in Agriculture followed by a degree in Agriculture.
Can you tell us more about your company?
Munya: My company is a registered a private business corporation trading under Marcus Produce. This is a means of establishing a brand and taking a step to formalise operations. The design for the brand was done by a designer friend of mine, Tapiwa Masuka, who is the founder and head designer of Project 10 Design Studio.
So, what do you produce?
Munya: I produce a range of vegetables on a seasonal basis. Tomatoes, cucumbers, brassicas, peppers, fine beans, baby marrows and peas. Although most of the year, I grow tomatoes.
What was your motivation for becoming a farmer?
Munya: Agriculture is both an art and a science. I was exposed to it at a tender age because for rural people it is not only a source of income but part of their way of life. The more I farmed with the elders, the better I became, the more questions I had and the more my passion developed. While growing up I also had a couple of like-minded friends, we used to produce vegetables as a hobby and also raise small livestock like ducks and rabbits. Such initiatives prompted me to take up farming more seriously.
How has your educational background helped you with starting your business?
Munya: My education and training assisted me in starting my own business because I'm a farmer before anything else. I was trained to farm, even if employment opportunities were available I would most likely be employed in production. So I told myself to focus on what was currently available and not on the ideal situation, which is not there. I decided to use my training, passion and skill to earn a living while doing what I enjoy.
What is your daily work routine?
Munya: I get up pretty early to assess the crops and take care of any orders so that they can be delivered while still fresh. I make deliveries then return to manage the plot and do field work. During the afternoon and early evening, I attend to walk-in customers.
Can you tell us a little about your team?