By Desire Tshuma
A Gwatemba-based small-scale purchase land farmer Pardon Mbondia has defied all the odds brought by the Matebeleland region’s poor rainfall by embarking on intensive market gardening.
”With farming, you won’t go wrong. I plant different types of vegetables that include cabbages rape, spinach, and tomatoes to mention just a few. I also plant maize crop and keep livestock, ” said Mbondia.
The Matebeleland region is geographically classified under regions 4-5 which receives less rainfall, making crop farming difficult but animal husbandry thrives.
Mr. Mbondia, through hard work, managed to drill a borehole that he uses for watering his field and for feed his cattle.
When this publication visited his plot, it was serious field business. The workers were watering the vegetable fields and some feeding cattle whilst he (Mr. Mbondia ) was also busy filling the water tank using water pumps which are solar-powered.
“I’m finishing harvesting tomatoes. I have been supplying Zvishavane supermarkets and other restaurants in Bulawayo with tomatoes for the past three months. This is the final harvest which I will do. I have been harvesting and supplying my clients two times a week with a 10-tonne full truck.”
Mbondia said the local community also benefits a lot. They buy tomatoes for household consumption and for resale. The farming process goes throughout the year since water is readily available.
Pen fattening is another business that Mr. Mbondia is doing. He feeds cattle and sells them to individual buyers who own butcheries in Zvishavane and Filabusi town.
Mr. Mbondia bought the plot 10 years ago and since that time he has changed the farming business of other Gwatemba farmers as most of them are following his farming ideas.
” I would like to urge fellow farmers to utilize their farms intensively. No farmer must starve. We should work together to revive our community and our economy, ” said Mbondia.
The Gwatemba small-scale purchase land is situated along Masvingo – Bulawayo highway about 60 kilometres from Zvishavane along Bulawayo road.