This week Emerging Farmer talked to the former teacher and reluctant farmer, Mrs Muteriswa, who is farming in Alabama, Kadoma. Mrs Muteriswa raises pigs and cattle and grows maize, vegetables and tomatoes on her plot. She sells her pigs and beef to Koala Meats (a local abattoir and butchery).
How did your farming journey start?
My husband has always been the farmer at heart, I am a city girl at heart. About six years ago, he decided he didn't like the city life anymore and shipped us to the plot in Alabama. The first days I was so disgruntled and I hoped this would make him change his mind.
Asi hazvina kushanda (It didn’t work).
Then one day an uncle came to visit and sat my husband and me down. He had hatched a plan to help us start our farming journey. He told my husband and me, he would give us the seed and the tractor to farm and all we needed to do was buy the diesel. When the crop was ready he would come collect it and sell it for us. And true to his word this is exactly what he did for us. As time went on he kept encouraging us and helping us until eventually we started doing it on our own.
As time went on, I came to realise that farm life is much cheaper and more hustle free than city life and I began to appreciate it. As my appreciation grew, the things happening on the farm grew with us. Now we have eight mother pigs and we have grown our cattle herd from 12 to 40. A week with my vegetables I can get about $50 a week which helps pay for the labour on the farm.
However not all was rosy, a couple of years back when we starting out, all out property and animals burnt to the ground. We aren’t certain what started the fire, but we lost everything and had to start from scratch. But we managed to build it all up again and now it is nothing but smiles. The classroom is easier however this is much better.
What was the catalyst for you to becoming a farmer?
The catalyst in my life would be my husband, my uncle and another friend of mine who lives nearby. After seeing the benefits of farming, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
What lessons have you learnt on your farming entrepreneurial journey so far?
Don’t give up keep pushing until you get to where you want to be. When our stuff was burnt, I was heartbroken and felt like throwing in the towel. Friends and family around me give me the support and today I am all smiles.
What are the challenges you face as a Zimbabwean Farmer?
Electricity is a major problem.
What advice would give other emerging farmers?
Do not start a project without researching how much capital you need for it to take off. Take for example raising pigs, they need to be fed and if you have no money that could be a problem.