Meet the Emerging Farmer: Hopewell Chin'ono

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Journalist and farmer Hopewell Chinono

Hopewell Chin'ono is an international journalist and part-time farmer. He raises goats at his rural home in Murewa. In this interview we talk about his decision to get into farming, choosing to raise Boer goats, investing in his rural home and his advice for other new farmers.

Enjoy!


Boer goat farming in Zimbabwe


 How did you get into farming in the first place? 

Professionally I am an international journalist but I have a goat project which is a hobby. I am passionate about it. I have put in almost $200 thousand dollars since last year into the project so that it stands out from the ordinary stuff being done locally. Mine is not even on a commercial farm. I inherited rural land from my parents by virtue of being the remaining male child.


Hopewell Chinono's Goat Farm

How to did you decide to raise goats?

I couldn't afford to allow the village plot to remain derelict so I chose to do Boer goats which have a high return at the market. The cheapest is $600 so I imported them from South Africa and set up the operation in Murewa. I invested heavily because I didn't want to have a place without a home, boreholes, diamond mesh fencing and proper buildings for my pens. I am also looking at it as my retirement home. So I built it from scratch putting all the comfy stuff that I enjoy in my Harare and London homes like running water, power, geysers, satellite television and making sure that I have a qualified vet serving the flock. I also bought a truck which is now stationed there to move supplementary feed and other stuff needed.




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

I have one full-time guy who manages the goats and also works as a housekeeper. I hire local guys as and when we need them over and beyond the full-time guy. My vet doctor comes as and when we need her. She actually lives in Harare. My local hand can now vaccinate and do all the other veterinary stuff which doesn't need signing off. He was trained by the vet doctor.


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

The challenges only relate to stock theft but we haven't lost any because my goat pens are brick and mortar and are locked at night. Thieves have cut the fence only to encounter an Alcatraz type of goat pen.


Boer Goat Farming in Zimbabwe

What advice would you give to other farmers starting out or anyone considering getting into farming?

Farmers starting out must read and do things the proper way and learn to live in harmony with the local community because they also act as your "police force". Mine is not a commercial farm. It's a rural holding where I am doing commercial goat rearing.

Farming is not a get rich quick venture, you invest heavily today and it will take years before the returns are evident. The problem with Zimbabwe's land reform has been that a lot of people who were lucky to get access to prime commercial farming land had no idea that farming is different from commodity brokering where you get your returns immediately. It takes a while in time and a lot of resources in investment before you start realizing any profits. It's a long-term business which requires patience.

Boer goats

What did you find most surprising when you got into farming?

Most surprising thing about farming personally to me is how addictive it can be. I am at peace when I am with my goats and I always make sure that we don't short cut what needs to be done.

cute baby goats

To learn more, order goat meat or to simply thank Hopewell for sharing his farming journey go to his Facebook page, Hopewells Boer Goats ZW. You can also contact him at +26377865860, on Whatsapp at +27 34295584 or by email at hopewell2 (at) post.harvard.edu

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