Esigodini-based farmer Mr Obert Chinhamo is among the farmers who have taken heed of the Government’s call for farmers to fully utilise land and shame doomsayers who have been criticising the country’s land reform programme.
Mr Chinhamo is one of the beneficiaries of the land reform programme who has proved that with adequate support, Zimbabwean farmers can excel in livestock farming.
The owner of Biano Farm, Mr Chinhamo has about 300 Simmentals at his 80- hectare farm. The Simmental breed of cattle is rare in the country and Mr Chinhamo is the only farmer in the southern region breeding Simmentals.
The breed which originates from Europe, has very high returns as the average weight of a beast is about 500 kilogrammes compared to the average weight of other breeds which is about 150kg.
Mr Chinhamo said farmers do not need large tracts of land to be productive and he has proved this by keeping about 300 beasts on his 80-hectare farm where he is also growing crops to feed his cattle.
In 2017 President Mnangagwa challenged farmers to produce not just enough for the nation’s consumption but even surplus for export.
Farmers like Mr Chinhamo seem to have taken heed and we call on other farmers allocated land under the land reform programme to emulate them.
Government on its part has been supporting farmers through farm mechanisation, modernisation and provision of reliable energy supplies to ensure maximum production.
This year the country suspended maize imports following a bumper harvest and this is as it should be given that the country has vast arable land.
More than 300 000 families were allocated land, some in prime farming areas that used to be a preserve of white commercial farmers and therefore each and every farmer allocated land should strive to be as productive as farmers like Mr Chinhamo.
Zimbabwe should regain its status of being the region’s breadbasket hence the need for farmers to produce surplus to export to the region.
It is time Government acts on farmers who got land for speculative purposes.
Land, we have said it before, is a finite resource which should only be allocated to committed and dedicated farmers so that the nation benefits.
The good news is that Zimbabwe like other countries in the region, is expecting above normal rainfall this coming cropping season.