A Tale of 90 New Farmers

  • Written by Oscar Habeenzu
  • Published in Local
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A Tale of 90 New Farmers A Tale of 90 New Farmers

Think Impossible. Think Generational Farming.

I met 90+ new farmers, Zimbabwean, local, and passionate about their new allotted soil and produce.

This is a tale of the members of a group on WhatsApp called VIVA Farming Gurus.

Local farmers are facing an enormous demand to fill the granary of Zimbabwe, against a supply deficiency of confidence; there are 90+ farmers I met that have declared their capabilities.

Day in and out the VIVA Farming Gurus share their experiences in their fields. Some carry their smart phones to the field and take "croppies" (Selfies of their crops and selves).

Rewind 100 years ago, 1914, the aery days of the early settlers of Rhodesia. 

There was excitement of the prospects and profits that lay ahead, as a handful of new farmers grew their enterprises season after season.

In 1914, 28,000 white settlers (a bulk being new farmers) occupied more than 13 million acres of land, and tilled it to eventually bring Zimbabwe to what it was in the 1990s, the bread basket of SADC.

Fast forward 100 years to 2014, you see the same story being written again, different characters; a story of new farmers that are as excited and passionate as those of 1914.

The farming story of Zimbabwe must now be approached objectively with differences in race and wallet size being set aside in order to maximise land use and fill the granary of, if possible, Africa.

Howsoever the views on the Land Reform Act may affect perception and opinion; it does not in any way reduce the productive pace these 90+ farmers are growing crops.

As is every entrant into a lucrative market, the Zimbabwean new farmer is teething in regards to a choice between "money making" and "food security sensitive" crops.

Even the early settlers of New York 200 years ago never imagined their city becoming a global financial hub, centuries later, as the gold rush appetites were high.

A new dispensation began in Zimbabwe when the 90+ gurus and tens of thousands more like them started tilling the land. This signified the beginning of a New Normal in Agriculture and Economics for Zimbabwe.

The dramatic redistribution of land in Zimbabwe saw 4,000+ white farmers being replaced by 60,000+ black farmers whom were dubbed "new farmers" and deemed inexperienced.

If you apply the law of averages and probability, you would understand the coming economic magnitude of Zimbabwe based on the current work of the new farmer.

In 1914 there begun a 100 year new farmer story culminating to 4,000+ farmers. Even so, 2014 is the beginning of another centurion story conceived by 60,000+ black new farmers as was that of the white settlers in 1914.

The VIVA Farming Gurus group is one of the many passionate farming social media groups and informal support networks in Zimbabwe, providing mental inputs to one another as they till the land for produce and profit.

An empty national granary today does not necessarily mean it will always be so; it just means there is unfathomable farming opportunity.

This is the first of many stories about the New Normal in farming and economics of Zimbabwe.

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