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Fraud Alert!!


Two days ago I got a call from a guy who said his name was "Mr Mashiri" 0712 128 *** n stated that  he works for a certain children's home in Bindura, and they wanted to buy the sugar beans that I had advertised.He said their buying price was $1550 obviously their offer was way more generous than what I was looking for, and I agreed to the deal and he said he would collect the beans, he hung up after I had given him my location and Address..

Yesterday in the morning "Mr Mashiri" calls and says unfortunately their donors no longer allowed them to deal in USD but they were offering rtgs at a rate of 1-140,, again this was way more than the prevailing black market rate, I agreed and asked him to send the money it was $434 000 rtgs,,

The whole day I waited for a notification from my bank and nothing came, At around 4pm I get a call from Mr Mashiri asking for exact directions to my place as his driver was getting lost, I checked my account again and still no money, At that moment ndopandakatanga kunyumwa, 

I told "Mashiri" to let his driver meet me at Sanganai shops then we go collect the beans at home,I was already at the shops with a colleague,,Sure enough in no time the "driver" arrived with another guy, who was a bit tall , slim , age I would say 26, The guy comes towards us holding an envelope , and states that He works with Mudhara Mashiri and had come to collect the beans also inside the envelope was the proof of payment,As soon as we open the envelope and look at the paper my colleague just utters haa this is fake!!


 Kungodaro chete the guy ran like the wind back into the truck and they quickly sped off, At this moment my colleague and I are laughing in shock , we were very lucky, Please let's be very careful Varimi and all those in Business vanhu vaya vatanga especially as harvest time is nearly upon us, Some will use different tricks fake USDs,fake transfers , etc, They will use old people , even women,Ngatingwarirei !!!

| Allan Zisanhi



Wednesday, 17 March 2021 19:27

March 2021


Friday, 12 March 2021 13:59

Cauliflower Production Guide

Site Selection

Soils can be medium to heavy clay loam with good water holding capacity. Sandy soils tend to require more frequent irrigation cycles and require higher levels of fertilization. PH levels should be between 5.5 and 6, closer to 6 on sandy soils. It is best to take soil samples and have them

checked prior to planting. Cauliflower responds very well to compost enriched soils. Levels of 20 to 30 tons of well-prepared compost will benefit the crop and reduce the levels of fertilizer.

Manure and chicken litter can also be used but must be well broken down and composted or root burn will occur. Manure 10 to 20 tons per hectare and chicken litter 2 to 5 tons per hectare.


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Ploughing should be done to a depth of 30 to 35cm deep making sure to break down the old plough pan. Ripping then discing is also a good way to prepare the tilth for planting. Not too cloddy or too fine tilth is necessary. During winter months if possible, plant on north facing slopes to achieve better soil warmth.


Planting can be done on beds during the rainy season which helps with drainage and on the flat during the winter period. If beds are made, they should be 1.5m center to center with 2 rows on the top of the bed, 60cm apart and 40cm in row. Planting on the flat rows can be 60cm apart

and planting stations 40cm in row. Plant populations should be between 33,000 – 40,000 depending on market requirements. Higher plant populations tend to give smaller curd sizes.


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A balanced basal Compound type fertilizer of either “A”, “B” or “C” should be applied prior to planting. This can be done using a Vicon spreader if growing on the flat or a ridger type applicator if planted on beds. Cupping with fertilizer cups by hand into the planting hole can also be done but the fertilizer must be well mixed in the hole to prevent root burn. On soil analysis results and soil types, rates of fertilizer can be applied ranging from 500kg – 750kg per hectare.

Cauliflowers will require around 400kg a hectare of AN split into 3 applications between weeks 2 and 6 after transplanting. During the rainy season if the crop is planted on lighter soils an extra top dressing might be needed after heavy leaching rains. Cauliflower plantings going into winter

should be top dressed with Calcium Nitrate, instead of AN as it is quicker acting in cool soils. Cauliflower is susceptible to Boron deficiency which causes “Hollow Stem” so be vigilant.


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Planting with seedlings is the most practical method. Use a recognized Nursery where strong and healthy seedlings are raised. At transplanting good seedlings give a base for a uniform crop helping with reduced costs at harvest. Plant around 10% more plugs per hectare of your selected plant population, this should ensure good seedling selection. When using seedlings or speedlings as they are also known, at transplanting make sure good plug to soil contact is made so the root system can leave the plug and quickly enter the fertilizer enriched soil. 

Plant the Speedings as soon as possible after pulling them from the trays to avoid the tiny hair roots drying out. Plant into pre irrigated soils in which the soil has been made up to field capacity.

After transplanting a light settling in irrigation is required to remove air pockets between the plug and the soil. It is recommended that you dip your seedlings in a solution of Actara to give the plants 6 weeks protection from aphids and whitefly. Also apply a foliar spray of Bion to the

seedlings to activate the plants own defense mechanism against bacterial and virus attack.


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Selection of a variety depends on where it is to be marketed. Cauliflower is mostly a cool weather crop. Varieties vary in Curd size from 600grams up to 1kilo. Varieties must be selected for summer or winter production. Be careful in summer as cauliflower is susceptible to “Black Rot”. Varieties need to have a waxy leaf to deter Diamond Back Moth from destroying the crop.

A good self-wrapping type cauliflower is necessary such as hybrids Twister F1 and Nevada F1 and Spacestar F1 supplied by Seed Co, which saves on labour costs for tying the leaves over the head to prevent discolouration. Cauliflower is also frost tolerant. Contact a Seed Co Agronomist for advice on which variety you need for different times of the year. The hybrid Twister, with an excellent head wrapping can be grown throughout the year.



Cauliflower heads are ready for harvest when the curds start to expose themselves through the natural leaf wrapping, so careful monitoring of head size is important. Exposed heads will turn yellow to cream or brown, making them unsalable. Harvest period is normally 10 – 14 days but

growers should aim to do as few cuts as possible, which saves on labour. Depending on variety selection and season, Cauliflowers take 75 – 90 days to mature after transplanting. Once the heads are cut cooling down in field shelters with wet walls or refrigeration is advised. Quick transport to market is a must. Cauliflower heads bruise easily so be careful and pack properly.


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During the dry winter months irrigation is essential. Overhead sprinkler irrigation is the most common, followed by flood and more recently “drip” irrigation. If growing Cauliflower during summer, irrigation must be spot on or “Hollow Stem” will occur due to fluctuations of water in the soil. 

Approximately 600mm – 750mm of irrigation should be allowed for to produce a good crop of cauliflower. So, planning water usage from, dams, rivers, and boreholes can be worked out to match hectares to be planted. As the plant increases in size and leaf area, and the start of the “Curd” forming, the amount of water required also increases. Irrigation should be planned on a weekly basis and the soil depletion area checked regularly to plan for the next irrigation cycle. The use of an “Evaporation Pan” should help with this. On medium to heavy clay soils, irrigation should be given when approximately 25% of available water has been used. Water

stress can cause the self-wrapping protection to fail exposing the “Curd” to sunlight turning it cream or yellow also making it nonmarketable


Never plant a Cauliflower crop following another Brassica crop i.e. Cabbage, Broccoli or Rape. Rotate with a legume or root crop.

| Prime SEEDCO


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Thursday, 11 March 2021 14:38

Goat production business tips


Goat business is very lucrative. There is a high demand for goat meat and breeding stock. Small scale goat production will not take much of your time.


There are a number of models that you can select from; 

  • Breeding, 
  • Meat Production, 
  • Milk Production, 
  • Buying and Selling live goats.

How to start?

  • Market research.
  • Select a model from the list above.
  • Get training. 
  • Develop financial projections or find someone to assist you.
  • Register a company. 
  • Open a free website ( 
  • Open Social Media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp for business)
  • Identify the risks involved and mitigatory measures.
  • Start with what you have, (even mixed breeds).
  • Borrow capital if needed, to grow the business.


  • You don’t need much space!
  • Hydroponic fodder and commercial eliminates the need for grazing area due to confinement.


  • Protect goats from extreme weather conditions including rain. 
  • Ensure:
  • Roof for rain. 
  • Walls for wind. 
  • Raised from the ground for self-cleaning to avoid foot rot.
  • Ensure good ventilation. 
  • You can start from your rural home. 
  • Confined goats are easy to feed and monitor. 
  • Ensure protection from predators. 
  • Secured to prevent theft.
  • Ensure regular removal of droppings.
  • Avoid using open kraals.  
  • Use locally available materials.

Breeding and husbandry

  • Maintain and improve good breeding stock.
  • Avoid uncontrolled breeding.
  • If breeding is planned, kidding should coincide with feed availability.
  • Maintain your own breeding buck.

Main Breeds

  • Mashona
  • Matebele
  • Boer
  • Saanen and 
  • Angora goats.

Selecting a breeding buck

  • Masculinity.
  • Standard buck/ram vocalisation.
  • Uniform pair of testes and a fine sheath.
  • Large scrotum circumference.

Selecting a breeding doe

  • She must be feminine.
  • She must be fertile.
  • Good milk production.
  • Well-structured udder with two functional teats.
  • Large body capacity and volume.


  • Removal of non-performing animals.
  • Low production or reproduction levels.
  • Unproductive animals.
  • Genetic defects or pre-disposition to disease.
  • Physical problems.
  • Disease.
  • Age. 


  • To maintain and control the breeding programme.
  • To successfully carry out breed improvement.
  • To improve on farm safety for animals.
  • To lessen goat smell.
  • For improvement of carcass composition and weight development.

Record Keeping

  • Always mark your animals for easy identification
  • Tattooing is considered to be the safest and lawful way of identifying goats
  • Tattooing Process
  • Clean the inner part of the ear lobe thoroughly.
  • Apply or smear the tattoo ink on the area to be tattooed.
  • Make sure that the sequence of the tattooing characters is correct.
  • Press the tattooing pliers until holes appear on the skin and then release.
  • Rub the ink in to the holes.
  • Clean excess ink. 

Nutrition and feeding

  • Goats require nutrients for body maintenance, growth and reproduction.
  • Feed sources:
  • Pastures (ensure proper grazing management),
  • Hydroponic fodder,
  • Commercial feed,
  • On farm feed formulations. 
  • Kids must receive colostrum soon after birth.
  • Nutrients found in colostrum decreases 48 hours after birth. 
  • Colostrum contains high content of energy, vitamins, minerals and antibodies that helps the
  • kids to fight and resist infections/diseases.
  • Goats must be introduced gradually to feed supplements and enough roughage must be provided at all times. 
  • Use body condition scoring to guide on nutrition. 

Common Health Problems

  • Heartwater
  • Pulpy kidney
  • Mastitis
  • Infectious Pneumonia
  • Coccidiosis
  • Abscess 
  • Abortion
  • Parasites

Prevention is better than cure!

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Friday, 26 February 2021 16:17

Characteristics of weeds

Weeds are also like other plants but have special characteristics that tend to put them in the category of unwanted plants.

• Most of the weeds especially annuals produce enormous quantity of seeds, e.g. wild oats (Avena fatua), produces 250 seeds per plant, whereas wild amaranth (Amaranthus viridis) produces nearly 11 million seeds. It has been observed that among 61 perennial weeds, the average seed-production capacity was 26,500 per plant.

• Weeds have the capacity to withstand adverse conditions in the field, because they can modify their seed production and growth according to the availability of moisture and temperature. They can germinate under adverse soil-moisture conditions, have short period of plant growth, generally grow faster rate and produce seed earlier than most of the crops growing in association

Weed seeds remain viable for longer period without losing their viability, e.g. annual meadow grass (Poa annua) and scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) remain viable for about 8 years; creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) for 20 years and field bind weed (Convolvulus arvensis) for about 50 years.

• Weed seeds have a tremendous capacity to disperse from one place to another through wind, water and animals including man. Many of times, weed seeds mimic with the crop seeds due to their size and get transported from one place to another along with them.


Monday, 22 February 2021 19:07

Demystifying agripreneurship


Traditionally, agriculture is seen as a way of life especially in countries where farmers are mostly focused on doing things better rather than doing new things.

However, the situation is changing rapidly mainly because of the following reasons:

  • Rising levels of literacy and education
  • Economic liberalization and commercialization
  • Deregulating or opening of agricultural markets
  • Better means of communication and transportation.

With the changing market dynamics, many choices are available to the consumers. The agricultural producers and especially the Agricultural companies have to adapt increasingly to the market demand, changing consumer habits, enhanced environmental regulations, new requirements for product quality, chain management, food safety, sustainability, and so on (Lans et al 2011).



Entrepreneurship, value chains and market linkages are terms that are being used more and more when talking about agriculture and farming. Many small-scale farmers and extension organizations understand that there is little future for farmers unless they become more entrepreneurial in the way they run their farms. They must increasingly produce for markets and for profits.

Becoming more entrepreneurial can be a challenge for small-scale farmers. They will need help from extension workers and other institutions.


What is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is someone who produces for the market. An entrepreneur is a determined and creative leader, always looking for opportunities to improve and expand his business.


An entrepreneur likes to take calculated risks, and assumes responsibility for both profits and losses. An entrepreneur is passionate about growing his business and is constantly looking for new opportunities. Entrepreneurs are also innovators. They always look for better and more efficient and profitable ways to do things. Being innovative is an important quality for a agripreneur, especially when the business faces strong competition or operates in a rapidly changing environment. 



Can small-scale farmers become entrepreneurs? Yes.

Small-scale farmers all over the world have shown a remarkable ability to adapt. They look for better ways to organise their farms. They try new crops and cultivars, better animals, and alternative technologies to increase productivity, diversify production, reduce risk – and to increase profits. They have become more market oriented and have learned to take calculated risks to open or create new markets for their products. Many small-scale farmers have many of the qualities of an entrepreneur.

For small-scale farmers to become entrepreneurs they need all of these qualities and more. They need to be innovative and forward-looking. They need to manage their businesses as long-term ventures with a view to making them sustainable. They need to be able to identify opportunities and seize them.

Some small-scale farmers do have these qualities, but they still focus on maintaining their traditional way of life. Their production decisions are based on what they need -- not on what is possible.

The agripreneur produces a clear picture in his mind of what is possible and the future he wants.

He knows that what is possible is determined by the market. The agripreneur is always looking for new opportunities. He knows that new opportunities are found in the market. The agripreneur wants to make profits. He knows that profits are made in the market. An entrepreneurial farmer has the initiative, drive, capacity and ability to take advantage of opportunities.


Smallholder farmers usually farm for one of four reasons:

  • Exclusively for home consumption with rarely any surpluses produced;
  • Mostly for home consumption, but with the intention of selling surpluses on the market;
  • Partly for the market and partly for home consumption; or
  • Exclusively for the market.


On the first rung of the ladder are farmers who farm exclusively for home consumption. If there is a surplus, they will sell it on the market, but this is very rare. Often these farmers are struggling with the basic survival of themselves and their families. They usually lack security in terms of health, water, food and shelter. They are rarely in the position to commit their minds and bodies to entrepreneurial tasks. While they may be entrepreneurial in spirit, they usually lack the opportunity to farm as entrepreneurs.

On the second rung are farmers who have greater opportunities that allow them to produce beyond just surviving. These opportunities are still very limited. However, by changing their resource mix and overcoming access and risk issues, opportunities can be expanded. Such farmers are sometimes viewed as ‘preentrepreneurial’, requiring support to move into a more independent position. At this level the farmers are not ‘entrepreneurs’ in the true sense and neither are they truly market-oriented. They have a greater appreciation of the market and have expanded their survival farming to include some economic activities. They are just starting out on the path towards developing profit-driven farming businesses. These farmers do yet see their farms as businesses. Long-term investment is not yet a priority. They are hesitant about diversifying to higher value products. They are comfortable selling surpluses of their food crops. Shifting to cash crops is too extreme and involves risks that they are not willing to take.

The third rung represents farmers who understand the value of farming for the market, but are often limited by access to finance, labour or market information. The elements are all there, but they cannot risk family food requirements without greater certainty of income from cash crops. The choice between producing primarily for the market with some produce utilised for home consumption or primarily for home consumption with some produce sold in the market depends on their circumstances and their willingness to take risks.

Farmers on the fourth rung are fully market oriented. Their primary reason for farming is to make profits by producing for the market. They are interested in profits, not food production. To be successful at market-oriented farming, the farmer needs greater farm management and entrepreneurial skills.



Being an entrepreneur is a way of life and a way of looking at the world. Entrepreneurs enjoy independence and freedom. They decide for themselves what to do and when to do it. Entrepreneurs also face risks, work under pressure and are immediately accountable for the outcomes – good or bad – of their decisions.

While agripreneurs are free and independent, they do not work alone. They operate in a complex and dynamic environment. They are part of a larger collection of people including other farmers, suppliers, traders, transporters and processors, each of whom has a role to play in the value chain.

For farmers to cope with the risks they will face in the complex world in which they compete, they need to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. A farmer with an entrepreneurial spirit energetically, enthusiastically and carefully makes many different decisions about his farm in the context of the value chain that influences the profits of the farm business. This is all happening in a dynamic, ever-changing and uncertain setting.

To make sure their farm businesses develop and adapt in response to these changes, farmer entrepreneurs need to:

  • Stay focused on their purpose;
  • Do their best to turn every event to their advantage;
  • Seize every opportunity and make the best of it;
  • Make the whole system work in their favour.
  • This is living in the spirit of entrepreneurship.


The ‘way of life’ of a AGRIPRENEUR

  • Freedom in making decisions about the business and the relationship with family
  • Control over what has to be done, when and in what order
  • Working alone often in solitude
  • Coping with a wide range of managerial and ‘day to day’ tasks
  • Lives with uncertainty; if you can’t generate profit you may not survive in the future
  • Risking personal assets and security
  • High level of responsibility and risk of failure
  • Lives with an inability to control the actions of stakeholders upon whom the success of the business depends
  • Develops trust and alliances with other stakeholders where mutual benefits exist
  • Works long and irregular hours to meet demands
  • Closely interwoven family and business life
  • Social status is linked to the success of the business
  • ‘Learns by doing’ under pressure from stakeholders, by solving problems, experimenting, seizing opportunities, and learning from competitors



Entrepreneurship can also occur among groups of farmers who want to form a business together. These farmers have similar goals and objectives and a willingness to share the benefits and risks. Ownership and control of the enterprise are divided among the group members.

The group is the financial investor, employee and risk taker.

Group entrepreneurship is particularly attractive among those farmers who would not be able to start an entrepreneurial business on their own. Often these are the poorest farmers in the community or the farmers with the weakest links to the economy. They seek security through group activities which allow them to pool their resources, share the risks and develop a social ‘safety net’.


To be successful, group enterprises must have the same entrepreneurial skills and spirit as individual entrepreneurs. Group members need to have the desire to be self-employed, the motivation to undertake something new, the willingness to take calculated risks and the mind-set of always looking for opportunities. They must be willing to work together in a common productive activity and to take full responsibility for the outcome.


There are many advantages to group entrepreneurship. Key among them are:

  • Group solidarity
  • Greater power from pooled resources
  • Drawing on shared life/business experience
  • Protection from shared ‘enemies’ in the form of exploitive traders and markets
  • Drawing on the common desire to progress and advance economically


These form a good foundation on which to build a group enterprise. But despite these advantages there are also pitfalls:

  • Instead of only one farmer failing, the whole group could fail with serious financial and livelihood repercussions.
  • Given the initial and prolonged need for mentoring, there is a real risk of creating dependency; this risk increases if the extension worker is paternalistic in his approach.
  • The generally low economic status of the members there may create pressure to spend whatever money is earned. Saving, which is needed as an investment to grow the business, may prove challenging.
  • The collective decision-making process and the unclear roles and responsibilities which are often a cultural standard, may not suit the needs of an entrepreneurial business which needs clearly defined roles and decision-making processes. To meet these challenges will require developing strong managerial capacity and a system of discipline within the group. When a group is able to apply its rules, even against powerful members of the group, it shows signs of true group entrepreneurship.



The idea of entrepreneurship is complex. When a farmer introduces a new enterprise into his farming system, there are different stages of development that the enterprise goes through. The skills of the farmer must also change and develop to meet the management demands of the



The development of a farm enterprise as a business occurs in five phases:

  • Establishment
  • Survival
  • Early growth
  • Rapid growth
  • Maturity (and possible decline)


Establishment: The organisation of the business at this stage is usually quite simple. Challenges relate to market potential, the motivation of the farmer, the availability of resources and basic business skills. Farmers require skills to negotiate with banks and other agencies in order to get the assistance they need to establish their new enterprise. The key questions are:

  • How can this become a profitable business enterprise?
  • How will it impact on my farm as a whole?
  • How can I establish a market?
  • Do I have enough money to cover the cash demands in setting up the enterprise?
  • During this stage, the organisation is simple and the farmer has to do most everything himself. The focus is on making sure the product is produced, gets to market and is sold. Since it is the first time he is producing this product, everything is new. Many new enterprises do not survive the first season of production and marketing.

Those that do, enter the survival stage.

Survival: Starting a new enterprise shows that the farmer has some entrepreneurial skills. Surviving the first stage shows that the new enterprise has short-term viability.

In the survival stage, the focus is on the relationship between the income earned and the costs entailed. The key questions are:

  •  Can I generate enough income to break-even in the short-run and to replace capital equipment?
  •  Can I generate enough income to expand or diversify production according to market demands to ensure long-term viability?

Many surviving enterprises stay in the survival stage. The farmer will need to consider if he wants to do the work to keep growing. If he does, he will need to figure out how to build on the success of the enterprise to move to the next stage.

Early growth: If the farmer decides to take his new enterprise beyond survival, the enterprise needs to grow. To achieve this, the farmer needs to develop a broader product and buyer base while ensuring that the farm business remains profitable. He must also ensure that farm operations are efficient, find the information needed for better management and hire more skilled staff to cope with the increased production, marketing and management activities. While the organisation may still be simple, growth requires more managerial skills and qualities to cope with the more complex farm management activities and decisions.

Rapid growth: Once the farm enterprise is working as a well-integrated farm business, it is in a position where it can achieve rapid growth. One way to grow is by increasing the amount of land planted and/or raising more livestock. This will give more product to sell. 

Another way is to add value to the product by processing it and/ or packaging it. During the rapid growth stage the farmer is likely to have to delegate some managerial responsibilities.

He will need to change the way communication is done, and to make some tasks routine. To do this, the farmer will need even broader managerial skills. As the scope of the farm business increases, the entrepreneurial and managerial skills of the farmer must also increase.

Sometimes a small-scale farmer may prefer to remain small. When his farm reaches the size that satisfies his requirements and purpose for farming, he may prefer to keep the business at that level. But making this decision must not be because of a lack of knowledge, skill or opportunity. maturity (and possible decline): Eventually, the farm business reaches maturity. This means that it stops growing or expanding. It reaches a point of balance where land size, market opportunities and the scope

of activities are in balance with the skills and vision of the farmer. As long as the farmer and the farm business continue in this balance the farm business will continue. If the enterprises are profitable and the farm is well managed, the business can be sustained

However, a thriving business will still face challenges and threats. There might be many competing farmers selling in the same market. Other farmers may have newer, more efficient methods of production and processing that give them an advantage. The farmer has to be entrepreneurial in adapting to these threats; innovating and developing strategies to ensure the farm business remains profitable and viable.

Inevitably, the farmer will need to decide about the future of his thriving business. Will the business outlive the farmer? Will he sell the business or hand it over to another family member? Should he close the business down?

It is important to remember that, in most cases, farmers are not starting with a completely new farm. They have working farms that already have one or two enterprises. Aspects of their farms may already be in the post-survival stages – some even in the maturity stage. Each new enterprise that is introduced, however, will follow these stages.


A few examples of how agripreneurs have grown their farm businesses have been discussed.

These include increasing the area under production and processing and packaging to add value. They also include handicrafts and agro- eco-tourism.

However agripreneurs have developed their farm businesses, they will face many challenges.

Agripreneurs need to be as ready as they can to meet these challenges. Some of the more significant challenges are:

  • Market-related risk
  • Access to finance and credit
  • Access to information
  • Low bargaining power
  • Vulnerability to economic shocks
  • Access to training and related challenges


David Kahan

Senior Officer, Agricultural Innovation and Extension FAO.


Monday, 22 February 2021 09:24

Young Agripreneur Shines in Rural Zimbabwe


While agriculture forms an integral part of Zimbabwe’s economy, many young people still think of it as back-breaking labour that offers little economic benefit.


However, things are slowly changing, a growing number of young people are starting to see agriculture as a viable career option.


Twenty-eight-year-old Terence Maphosa is among a new generation of agri-entrepreneurs who are invigorating the agriculture sector with their innovative initiatives.


A political science graduate from the University of Zimbabwe, Maphosa’s dream was to land a white-collar job in the city after finishing college.

A year and a half after graduating from college, circumstances pushed Maphosa to start breeding and selling indigenous chicken breeds popularly known as roadrunners at his rural home in Mhondoro-Ngezi, about 170km from the capital Harare.


Roadrunner is a colloquial name for a free-range exotic breed of chicken that scavenges for food. Their meat is tougher and is considered by many to be tastier than broilers.


His breeds include the Black Australorp, Koekoek, Light Sussex, Kuroila and Jersey Giant.

While many young people in Zimbabwe view agriculture as the domain for the less educated and consider rural to urban migration as the only ticket out of poverty, Maphosa has made a name for himself in the village.


Apart from rearing exotic chicken, Maphosa is also involved in crop farming — but he focuses on corn, sunflowers, sorghum and soya crops as a means to reduce the costs of buying feeds.


Indigenous chickens have gained popularity among Zimbabweans as they offer a healthier organic option and a business opportunity.


Unlike broilers, the birds are cheaper to rear as they thrive on natural foods such as grains, worms and insects.


Maphosa’s success in agribusiness has caught the attention of many young people on social media where he regularly posts about his day-to-day life.


“A lot of youngsters are now appreciating farming, and slowly we are getting there,” he told Xinhua.


“The reason why our generation doesn’t see farming as something lucrative is because of our background. When growing up, we were taught to go to school, to be doctors, to be nurses, to be lawyers, to be engineers, nobody pushed us to be farmers. So apparently, they did not push us to be practical, they pushed us to work those white-collar jobs,” he said.


Thanks to farmers such as Maphosa, a resurgence of interest among young farmers is happening, more and more young people are starting to see agriculture as a viable career path.


“People are now showing the desire and hunger to go into farming, specifically in my field, the roadrunner business,” he said.



Maphosa said agriculture’s image is changing, youth are now turning to farming and value addition of farm produce.

“The way we are doing things, I wouldn’t deny we are making farming look cool, like being proud of your surroundings, you influence the next person to say let me try this,” he said.


Through Maphosa’s social media posts, young people at home and abroad are being motivated to venture into agribusiness.


His Twitter account has gained a significant following, and his name has become a subject of discussion on Twitter.

Maphosa’s simple and authentic rural life, and his appreciation of traditional Zimbabwean food has also attracted the admiration of many.


With more educated youth such as Maphosa joining farming, youngsters are beginning to view agriculture as an intellectually stimulating and economically sustainable career.


Like most developing countries, agriculture remains the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy.


Attracting young people to rural agriculture is vital since nearly 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s population lives in rural areas.


In addition, agricultural activities provide employment and income for 60%-70% of the Zimbabwe’s population, supplies 60% of the raw materials required by the industrial sector and contributes 40% of Zimbabwe’s total export earnings, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation.


Agriculture also contributes approximately 17% of the country’s gross domestic product.


With people below the age of 35 constituting more than 50% of the country’s population, and given the country’s high youth unemployment rate, the agricultural sector offers huge potential for job creation.


The Zimbabwean government has over the years taken various initiatives to support youth in agriculture.


Government sees the inclusion of the youth, in the agricultural sector as key in its efforts to plug the country’s food supply gap and to achieve food security at both household and national level.


— Xinhua

Thursday, 18 February 2021 08:59

Summer Crop Management Tips

By Wendy Madzura, Head of Agronomy services Seed Co Zimbabwe

Download the February Issue 

In light of the lucrative summer season that farmers have been having it goes without saying that the prospects of a bumper harvest are looming. However, this hope can only come to fruition if farmers are able to employ Good Agronomic Practices to unlock the genetic potential of the crops established. 


During this time of the year farmers who managed to establish their crops at the recommended time under rain fed production have crops that are at different stages of growth with most crops being at pollination and the late vegetative stage. 


However, there are farmers with crops that are in the early vegetative stage owing to late establishment. Today we will discuss he agronomic principles that will make the difference between getting a bumper harvest and getting low yields


Fertilizer management plays a pivotal role in provided the nutrient contents desired by the crop to undergo its critical stages of development. At germination and crop emergence, a crop establishes itself using basal fertilizers especially when the rates applied were guided by soil analysis results. 


At around three to four weeks, the crop is ready to grow vegetatively and build its crop stand (statue) in preparation for the reproductive stage where flowering and physiological maturity occurs. 


It is critical for farmers to avail the right amounts of nitrogen based fertilizers at the beginning of the vegetative stage to allow the crop to reach its full potential. In maize production there are two main sources of nitrogen fertilizer, Ammonium Nitrate (AN, 34.5%) and Urea (46%). The farmer’s choice between the two should be done with the full understanding of the fertilizer to be used. 


AN tends to leach below the root zone when applied during periods of persistent rainfall. When this happens the nitrogenous fertilizer may be washed below the root zone thereby resulting in an unhealthy, stunted looking crop. 


As a result of this farmers are encouraged to split apply AN fertilizer to reduce the incidence of leaching. Urea on the other hand is very unstable and tends to get lost into the atmosphere through volatilization as a result farmers should use urea on wet, swampy soils, during periods of persistent rains. Farmers should cover urea slightly with a bit of soil to reduce its loss into the atmosphere through volatilization and thereby ensure its effective use. 


The use of foliar fertilizers is encouraged as it avails macro and micro- nutrients to the crop that complement the efforts of the standard fertilizers applied to the crop. 


Farmers should seek guidance from fertilizer exports on the best type and time to apply fertilizers to their crops.


Picture above shows different weed control scenarios with the recommended one the far right (IDEAL)

Another yield limiting factor is weed pressure. Weeds can account for yield losses to the tune of 50% to 100% if left unmanaged or if poorly managed. Weed control can either be manual/ mechanical or chemical. The most efficient and modern form of weed control is chemical control (the use of herbicides). It is interesting to note however that some farmers have wrongfully judged herbicides as agents of soil destruction when the actual challenge is the failure to understand the principles of effective herbicide use which are:

·        Crop and herbicide suitability (Type of crop)

·        Weed spectrum (grasses, broadleaves, surges)

·        Stage of growth of the weeds (seedling stage, three to five leaf stage of weeds is ideal)

·        Rotation plan (type of crop to be established)

·        Dilution rates (volume of spray as stated on the label)


In a bid to combine operations farmers at times tend to mix herbicides in one tank mix but this should be done upon consultation with the agrochemical suppliers as some products may not be compatible.

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Picture above shows Fall Army Worm and its different stages of growth and damage

In an effort to maximize on the leaf area as well as health of the crop, farmers should scout their fields regularly to enable timeous control of problematic insect pests before economic threshold levels are reached. If insect pests are not controlled on time, they can significantly reduce the surface area for photosynthesis thereby affecting PRODUCTIVITY. One of the most problematic insect pest in maize production is the Fall Army worm which has wreaked havoc in maize production in past seasons and currently farmers are crying fowl over the prevalence of this insect pest in their field. The Fall armyworm should be controlled when it is in its 1st intar of development because at this stage it can be controlled by a wide range of insecticides, however the challenge is that most farmers tend to notice the severity of this insect pest when it has reached the fourth instar of development. During the 4th instar the Fall Army Worm will be fully grown and hidden deep inside the maize funnel thereby making it difficult to control. When the Fall Army worm enters the funnel it produces “fruss” that covers the funnel preventing the insecticide from reaching it. At this stage farmers are encouraged to spray using a high volume spray to penetrate deed into the funnel. Insecticide selection for Fall Army Worm should also be done after consultations with agrochemical specialists as there is a wide range of options that can be used. An example of an effective active ingredient is Emmamectin benzoate which may come in different trade names so be sure to always read and understand the label, least you purchase products with different trade names and yet the active ingredient is the same.


In addition to this farmers should always be on the lookout for diseases as they pose a significant threat to the crops ability to reach its full potential and ultimately the yields. The use of hybrid seeds with inbuilt resistance or tolerance to serious disease can significantly reduce the cost of disease control and thereby increase the profitability (ROI). In maize production the selection of varieties that are resistant and tolerant to Grey Leaf Spot (GLS). Another way to effectively manage diseases incidences before they become significant is to scout regularly in a systematic way that ensures that the whole field is covered. Farmers can opt to use preventative fungicides especially in crops like soya beans to reduce the incidence of rust. Once a diseases has been noticed farmers should use systemic curative fungicides before the disease spreads across new plants

The 2020/ 21 farming season is unique in the sense that the rainfall can persist for our or days on end and this increases chances of water logging condition in the fields that may affect crop growth. As a result farmers should work to ensure that drainage is maximized in the fields and for those farmers establishing horticulture crops or Sugar beans, establishment of the crops should be done on ridges or raised beds to manage drainage. This is particularly true for the establishment of sugar beans. Sugar beans is one of the crops that farmers can establish from mid – January to mid – February and this season this period has coincided with periods of excessive moisture hence farmer should manage drainage for effective production.

In conclusion the 2020/21 farming season is double edged sword. On one end the  rains have brought great home to the farming prospects of rain-fed Agriculture while on the other end the persistent rains have posed challenges in crop establishment, excessive leaching of nutrients and water logging crop stress. As a result farmers are implored on to adjust their cropping programs to maximise on the positive attributes of the season by working on drainage and the application of additional nitrogenous fertilizers when leaching occurs. In farming, there are a thousand reasons for low yields, but only two reasons for high yields: Getting the right germplasm (SEED) and practising GOOD AGRONOMIC PRACTICES (GAP’s)



Thursday, 18 February 2021 08:54

Gastrointestinal bloat in Rabbits

By Dr S. K Mandizha ( BVSc/UZ)


Rabbits have a complex gastrointestinal (GI) tract, when compared to other species like dogs and cats. Their GI system has been designed to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients out of any of the foods they eat. Re-eating some of their faeces (also known as caecotrophy) to allow for re-processing of nutrients that weren’t absorbed the first time through. Unfortunately, this makes them prone to developing problems. 


Many of these are problems are easily treatable however some are life-threatening. Today’s article looks at one of the most serious conditions that rabbits suffer from – gastrointestinal bloat. 


What is it? 

Gastrointestinal bloat in rabbits generally occurs when there is a blockage in the GI tract, most commonly in the first segments of the intestine. Since rabbits are unable to vomit or eructate effectively meaning that the only way ingesta can leave the stomach is through the passage to the anus.When ingesta is broken down in the stomach; gas and different types of liquid are produced, leading to more stomach contents than just the food that was first ingested. When an intestinal blockage occurs, it leads to the stomach becoming enlarged. If a blockage occurs in the intestines there is now nowhere for the stomach contents to go, which leads to the stomach becoming enlarged or bloated. As the stomach enlarges it compresses a number of blood vessels which lead to your rabbit’s blood supply network being disrupted which can become lifethreatening. The stomach also can get so large that it ruptures. 


What is it caused by? 

Most cases have it being caused by the blockage of the early intestinal segment which can be by a combination of hairs and food particles that have been ingested by your rabbit. This hair/food combination forms together to form a small ball that is called a trichobezoar. Other foreign items can also be ingested by your rabbit and cause blockages; in one of the cases small pebbles are to blame for the obstruction. 


What are the signs to watch out for? 

There is general deterioration within a few hours of rabbits that have a complete gastrointestinal blockage. These affected rabbits will generally go from being perfectly normal to very sick and not wanting to move. They generally won’t want to eat anything, will not be moving much and are often sitting in a hunched position. On palpation their abdomen will feel bloated and painful. If your rabbit is showing any of these signs getting them to your nearest veterinarian as quickly as possible is very important. 


How is it diagnosed?

In most cases your veterinarian will be able to have a fair idea that your rabbit may be bloated from doing a physical examination which also includes palpating their abdomen. Radiographs (x-rays) can be taken in most cases to assess the severity and treatment options. Blood glucose measurement (which involves taking a small amount of blood from your rabbit) can also confirm the blockage. 

Is it treatable? Bloat is life threatening and in many cases your rabbit will succumb to it if you do not seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. The main options for treatment once at the vet include emergency surgery to relieve the obstruction or high levels of fluid therapy and pain relief (as well as other supportive treatments).  


How do I prevent it from occurring? 

This condition is difficult to prevent completely however ensuring your rabbit has a good diet and that they are regularly brushed or shaved (to minimize hair ingestion) does help to minimize their risk. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at Highglen Pet Boarding Services on the following contact numbers: 


0776 531 819

0737 188 274 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


7787 Kuwadzana 2 Harare Zimbabwe. 




Wednesday, 17 February 2021 05:16

February 2021


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