BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
TWO of Zimbabwe’s biggest farm implements suppliers have joined the battle to save thousands of cattle facing starvation in Filabusi after last season’s poor rains depleted pastures.
Dulys and Farmec have partnered the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) in a fodder production scheme that will assist over 4 000 farmers in Insiza district.
But partners to the project emphasised that farming should be considered a serious business by beneficiaries.
“Rearing cattle is a big business that can bring a lot of money to farmers to develop their communities,” said Danish Church Aid country director Mads Lindegard during the launch of the fodder production scheme in Filabusi on Wednesday.
“We have so many times launched projects like these, but when you come back one year later, you find all the equipment dead. There is usually no drive in this business,” he said.
“Farmers need to save money like what businesspeople do and start treating agriculture like a business. You find that most farmers will fail to buy new parts for the machinery or even a shovel yet they are in a business, they should operate in the shoes of a businessman.”
Lindegard said people with qualifications must manage farming ventures because agriculture is a business.
“Farmers should stop relying on the government and donors for money, equipment and other inputs. They should save and be able to maintain machinery. You find government installing pipes and all irrigation machinery but a farmer is asking for money (to buy) a hosepipe. They should save,” he added.
The Insiza District Resilience Building Trust received equipment which includes a tractor, baler, mower, rake and trailer for sustainable fodder harvesting from 16 agricultural development associations representing over
4 000 farmers.
Lindegard said there was a need for farmers to help each other in communities so that the community became balanced.
Pangani Vocational Training Centre in Insiza district, Matabeleland South province, runs a goat-keeping project with the youth being most active beneficiaries.
The project now has a herd of more than 206 goats, but last year, they lost 100 goats due to drought.
Speaking at the same event, Sizimele Action for Building Resilience in Zimbabwe programme manager Diego Matsvange said the farming project would go a long way in helping the Insiza community.
“The bundled livestock feed streams is meant to strengthen capacity to harvest bale hay through provision of mechanisation equipment which enables strategic timing of harvest and bailing large volumes from natural grass from areas with surplus,” Matsvange said.
“The fodder production is going to strengthen capacity to harvest fodder legume crops and strengthen capacity to collect and store tree pods and stover.”
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