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Commercial horticulturist transforming rural Chirumanzu with increased production

Staff Reporter 

MVUMA-Patrick Cheza (51) has carved a niche for himself in the field of farming and now has set sights in upscaling horticulture hectarage production to meet the demands of the market.

Cheza owns a thriving 125 hectares of land at Subdivision SD43 in Mahamara area in Chirumanzu Rural District.

The farm is 70km from Mvuma Town.

The renowned  farmer started running his thriving  farm in 2016, where he ventured in mixed farming, specializing in horticulture, livestock, poultry, piggery, goats and sheep production.

“We are producing horticulture products such as tomatoes, cucumbers and butternuts. We send 25 crates of  tomatoes, 35 crates of cucumbers and 35 crates of butternuts per going and we are doing it twice per week. We also want to increase the hectarage that we do for horticulture produce from 3 to 10 hectares.

We have now opened a butchery to supply meat  and making sure that people get the quality of the services  that they deserve,” said Cheza who relocated  from the United Kingdom (UK) to his motherland in Chirumhanzu.

Every fortnight, a 20 tonne truck delivers produce  to Gweru, Kwekwe  or in Chirumhanzu.

Cheza said his vision is to ensure that the farming venture is one of the best and be the most supplier of the hotculture produce in the coming years.

He believes that farming ‘is a business that can create wealth and employment opportunities’.|

Subdivision SD43 in Mahamara has 33 workers and 19 student interns from reputable tertiary institutions such as Midlands State University, Kaguvi Training center, Chinhoyi university among  others.

The farm targets to employ about 30 more members of staff this year.

“We want to employ between 20 to 30 members of staff from the local community so that we take people off the streets where they end up indulging in drugs and substance abuse.

“But if they get occupied, they learn the skills and this will reduce crime in the area we are operating from,” he said.

Subdivision SD43 in Mahamara has four solarized boreholes for domestic use and modernized irrigation systems using efficient methods such as drip irrigation to feed into  the three greenhouses.

Cheza added that he targets to increase the irrigation capacity to ensure adequate water throughout the year.

“We are planning to increase the irrigation schemes on the farm thereby enabling us to be in a position to capitalize on the markets. We are investing heavily in the irrigation scheme.

“With the irrigation, we know that it will be an all round-production which we are  working hard  to ensure that it sails during this season,” said Cheza.

He appealed to the government to avail him with more land saying he has the resources to inject into farming and ensure that the country is food secure.

Subdivision SD43 farm manager Edward Mufandaedza concurred with Cheza adding that the farm is too small since there are “ high volumes of cattle and there is a shortage of grazing area. We are now forced to slaughter them regularly and sell, to maintain manageable numbers that can be fed in our small grazing land”.

He said they have the drive to build the beef herd and currently there are 96 well fed Braham and mixed breed cattle left, with more than 15 that  are lactating.

A female student from Kaguvi Training center, Patricia Ndiya said she feels empowered by taking up a career path in the male-dominated commercial farming sector.

She said the attachment at SD43 has taught her “to be self independent” and believes that one can do anything in life as long as she or he has requisite skills.

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