Meet the Emerging Farmer: Yvonne Kazingizi

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This week’s emerging farmer is Yvonne Kazingizi. Yvonne is the co-founder and Finance Director of Hortech Limited, a startup horticulture company. Her goal? Build a leading horticulture company and a green future. Emerging Farmer talked to her about getting started, her farming vision and her business team.


Let’s start from the beginning: Where did your farming journey begin?

Yvonne: My farming journey started when I was working at Pedstock Investments {a farm supply and service company} as a sale representative.

It started with a conversation during lunch with my friend, and co-worker Rumbidzai Mbambo. She wanted to venture into farming but didn't have enough resources to get started and I was in a similar position. I had this strong desire to venture into farming, influenced by the company I was working for.


Do you have a farming background?

Yvonne: Yes I do have a farming background. I grew up with my grandparents who did a lot of farming. During the rainy season, we would go kumunda {to the fields}, to plant maize as well as doing gardening at home.



Can you tell us about your company and what it does?

Yvonne: Our company is called Hortech Limited and we mainly deal with the supply of quality horticulture produce.

What was your motivation to start farming?

Yvonne: I was motivated by a number of factors, first, the desire and passion that I always had for farming to do something with my own hands. Second, to earn extra income for myself instead of having to wait for my salary. Third, to also provide employment for many people who are unable to find employment, and above all to revive our country’s agriculture sector.




How did your educational background help you with running your farming business?


Yvonne: I am an accounts graduate with the Institute of Administration and Commerce (IAC).My accounting background has helped me with: managing as well as raising funds for my business coupled with the working that am getting at work since I deal with farmers.


Tell us how you manage your daily work routine


Yvonne: Since I am still in formal employment I work Monday through Saturday, during that time I deal with farmers. I manage my farming business during my free time over the weekend. During that time, I research how to be more efficient in what I do. And on other free days, if not most days, I will be out in the garden, tending to the crops.



Tell us about your partners and team

Yvonne: As Hortech LTD,   there are five of us in total.  We have Rumbidzai Mbambo, a horticulturalist, whose studying horticulture at Midlands State University (MSU). Wiseman Mashandudze, irrigation engineer, then there is me, the Finance Director and our sub team Mr James, project supervisor and Chris, our driver.


What lessons have you learned along your journey?

Yvonne: Find a market before ploughing and harvesting your crop. To always have adequate resources be it financial and pertaining to transport, because it was a huge disaster for us failing to transport our goods to the market because we did not budget for transport costs.


What are some of the challenges of getting started farming in Zimbabwe?



Yvonne: One, as a young farmer we have faced challenges pertaining to funding issues they are a lot of projects that we intend to do but getting the adequate finance has being our stumbling block.


Two, low prices in market. We have been forced to sell our produce at low prices which barely sustain us.Three, transport and logistical challenges. After having produced quality goods, hiring transport to take our goods to market has been a challenge because we end up using our sales money to pay for our transport costs and as a result no money to put back in the business.


Four, land is an issue for us because we would like to grow big but we only have small portions of land which limit our growth.



What advice would you give other farmers?


My advice will be not to give up in whatever farming branch you are doing, because as farmers we got the tendency of giving up to quickly because a project failed at first doesn't mean it is not worth it, take each and every obstacle or disappointment as a learning curve to better yourself next time.


Second, be passionate with what you are doing because passion will carry you in the difficult times. Third, research and study - be it the market or the produce you want to sale.

What is your vision for Hortech?



We intend for Hortech LTD to be a sole supplier of quality horticulture produce not only in Zimbabwe but internationally. Our motto being "Grow a Green Future"


We intend create a school on farming were farmers learn how to grow quality crops without having to enroll in an tertiary institute, as well as create employment as we grow . And lastly to set up food processing plants.




5 comments:

  1. Nice synergies in the professional specializations of the partners. Inspiring..

    ReplyDelete
  2. at least i have learnt something i would like to rare chickens and goats and also plan tomatoes .i think what you are doing will be of benefit to people like us. andrewliywalii@gmail.com.

    andrew liywalii
    zambia, solwezi.

    ReplyDelete

 
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