Mashudu Netsianda, senior reporter
LIKE the famous King Midas, remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn anything he touched into gold, Bulawayo farmer Mr. Tatenda Kunzekweguta (28) of Montgomery believes that whatever it touches turns green.
The young farmer, with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, turned his father’s plot into a thriving horticultural project, supplying Bulawayo markets with cabbages, vegetables, tomatoes, carrots and onions.
His massive agricultural project has become the envy of many in Montgomery on the outskirts of Bulawayo where he is involved in horticultural agriculture. Currently, Mr. Kunzekweguta has planted 50,000 cabbages, which are watered by drip irrigation.
He’s already harvesting potatoes.
Mr. Kunzekweguta has also created jobs for his community. It employs 10 people on a permanent basis, while others are hired on a seasonal basis.
âWe started this project about 10 years after my father bought this land. At the time, I had just finished high school and went to university, âhe said.
âI went to the University of Africa and studied agriculture and natural resource management, majoring in horticulture.â
Kunzekweguta said he was cultivating rain-fed summer crops before deciding to resort to the horticulture project.
âAfter I finished my studies in 2015, I didn’t bother to look for a job. I thought it was ideal to work on my father’s land to earn money. So I decided to get into horticulture, focusing on cabbages, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, onions and potatoes.
âWe used to grow corn, sugar beans and soybeans because we didn’t have an irrigation system. We have now introduced a drip irrigation system for efficient water use by pumping water from three boreholes using electric motors.
The three boreholes supply water to night storage tanks.
âOur farm is 16 hectares, but the area we cultivate is six hectares. We are working to expand the project in order to efficiently use all the arable land. We serve the Bulawayo market and supply fruit and vegetable shops, supermarkets, schools and individuals, âhe said.
He recently planted cabbages and hopes to harvest them in February. He strongly believes in organic soil fertilization to establish a balance between the environment and the ecosystem.
âRight now we have planted 50,000 cabbages and just finished harvesting potatoes and will be planting other crops soon in January. “
Mr. Kunzekweguta said that as a farmer it is important to be innovative and implement smart farming methods by reducing energy consumption.
âIt’s also necessary to embrace the technology and do a lot of research in your particular area. “
He expressed concern about the widespread theft of copper cables, saying they were affecting his operations.
As part of his future plans to expand his business, Mr. Kunzekweguta plans to explore overseas markets.
âWe plan to explore overseas markets, focusing on pea production, but unfortunately Covid-19 has hit us. We want to tap into the lucrative Dutch market, âhe said.
As part of the diversification, Kunzekweguta intends to introduce goat farming and plans are already at an advanced stage. – @mashnets