Meet the Emerging Farmer: Perpetua Muzuri

Thursday, December 17, 2015

This's week's Emerging Farmer is Perpetua Muziri. Perpetua left a job in government to start farming in her large backyard. She has since rented land and also plans to use her rural home to expand her farming business. She is the founder of a produce company called Peps Veggies.

How big is the land you farm and what crops do you grow?

The land is 240sqm. There are  2 x 120 sqm greenhouses where I grow English cucumbers, baby marrows, cabbages and exotic pepper.  I am also into poultry farming. I keep between 5-600 chickens depending on the season. I am also in the process of setting up a piggery project at my rural home in Goromonzi. I am also renting a space at Chinyika Irrigation Scheme in Goromonzi where I have planted 5000 heads of cabbages.

How did you get started farming? What were you doing before you got started farming?

I left formal employment in 2013, before that I had been working for the government for 17 years. I had nothing to do and my yard is big that's when I thought of trying horticulture.

Do you have a team? If so, how do you delegate tasks?

I mainly work with my children and one helper. My children are my main helpers and I have one other helper to delegate tasks to.

What are some of the challenges you have faced farming and how have you handled them?  

Currently, the main challenges we are having as upcoming farmers is that we are price takers. There are too many upcoming farmers doing horticulture and you find that at times the market is flooded and you have to be content with the going price.

Do you have a qualification in agriculture and has it helped you in your farming?

My first degree is Management and Entrepreneurship Studies and I am a holder of a Masters degree in Marketing Strategies.  I don't have any agricultural qualification but if you link the two degrees you definitely come up with something, although one of the modules I did at Masters was Agro Marketing and it is coming in very handy.

Can you tell us how you start and organise your day? 

First thing in the morning is to make sure that the chickens have enough water and drink and that there are there are no mortalities.  After that, if there are any orders from supermarkets I have the prepared and do the deliveries.

What are some of the lessons you have learned farming?

I have learnt that if you do your things well and have good produce you will hit it big with supermarkets and other customers as well. You have to be a consistent supplier. If you don't have anything the best thing you can do is to let your customer know and tell them when to expect it, so always in touch.

What advice can you give new farmers (and seasoned farmers) regarding dealing with labour?  

The best thing is to equip your workers or helpers and yourself with knowledge. Educating your workers and helpers helps so that during your absence you are assured of quality work. Don't hesitate to send them to all necessary training so that they are well equipped.

What are your farming aspirations? 

My aspiration is to have a bigger space for horticulture because right now am operating at home and space is limited.

You can keep up with Perpetua on her Facebook page at Peps Veggies

Disclaimer: while Emerging Farmer does everything to ensure the accuracy of our guides, it is important to contact an agronomist or your Agritex officer for accurate recommendations for your farm. Emerging farmer takes no responsibility for any losses or damage incurred due to information in this guide.


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