Coaching

Sithembelenkosini Mpofu Horticulture project

Introduction

 

I am a 28-year-old young woman living in a small village of Malala, in Beitbridge. Since I was a little girl, I have always had a passion for farming. Five years ago, (2013), I decided to pursue my dream of being a farmer and made use of the free family land that is about two hectares big, with a horticulture project in mind. After consulting with the rest of the family members, they all agreed that I could start my project. After clearing the land, I started by planting green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and 20 orange trees. Watering these plants was a difficult task as I had to use buckets for carrying water from a nearby well. At the end of the season, all the vegetables that I had planted were healthy, proving that no matter how difficult the task may be, with hard work and determination, anything is possible. The produce from my small farm was for family consumption and some of the produce was sold to the neighbours and surrounding villages.  Seeing the success of my first project, I went on to plant maize plants and a hundred more orange trees; currently I have a total of 120 healthy orange producing trees.

After increasing the products on the farm, I knew that I had to find a solution to the watering problem I had. The use of buckets, which had previously proven to be a difficult task was not going to work well with the increased production. Therefore, from the profits that I made from my first project, I could purchase a 5000L Jojo and dig a well (that uses an engine pump). This has made the watering of the orange trees and vegetables very easy and effective. Now I have four engine pumps; however, I use one at a time and the other ones are for emergency purposes e.g. in the case of one pump breaking down, I am still able to continue watering the plants whilst the other pump is being repaired.

All the credit for this growth is a result of the training I received from the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). Through YEP, a program that was sponsored by the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), there were opportunities that enabled me to buy all the equipment that I am currently using and to maximize production.

 

Trees started bearing meaningful fruits after 4 years of being planted, in 2017. With the skill that I have acquired through YEP, I can take care of these trees without facing any problems. When I started this project, I was working alone with help from family members. As the project grew, I saw the need of having more hands to help around the farm. Currently I have four permanent employees and ten casual ones who come when the work load increases e.g. during harvesting of oranges and whatever products that will be there at that time. I sell the oranges to the local community and at the market place in Beitbridge.

 

To all the young entrepreneurs, I encourage you to pursue your dreams. Work hard, stay focused, do not lose sight of your vision because hard work always pays off! Do what you have never done to achieve what you have never achieved, it will be worth it in the end.

 

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