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Posted 01/21/2021 in Agricuture

Being a young farmer in Zimbabwe : Part 11

Being a young farmer in Zimbabwe : Part 11

From fighting through university, paying for her tuition to establishing her own company and breaking societal barriers on perceptions of female agronomists, Lucy Kundai Zvaraya has defined what perseverance and being true to one's vision means. Here is her story:

RK: Can you tell us about you

LKZ: My name is Lucy Kundai Zvaraya, A female aged 28 years. I am a BSc Agronomy honours holder from MSU.

RK: Can you share your story

LKZ: I would say I am a self made Agronomist. I faced so many challenges in my earlier life including taking myself through university with no sponsor and failing to collect my transcript for 3 years because of pending tuition and graduating 3 years after I had finished the program. This is after I had managed to clear the pending tuitions in 2019 and had finished the program 2016. Life really taught me how to stand on myself.

RK: What motivated you to start farming?

LKZ: I started farming (as a service provider in consultancy) in 2016 after finishing my degree. I couldn't find employment and started engaging farmers and doing field visits. It wasn't paying much and had to find something else with a stable income. I then got employed by an irrigation company in 2017 and was offering Agronomy help to their customers this helped me grow my knowledge and practical on the ground experience and from there I never stopped growing. I have worked for several big players in the Agric sector and continued to be a platform for growth in the industry. I then registered my consultancy Farm Makeover Company and has been operational for a while. I plan on growing bigger this year as there are plans underway so watch the space.

RK: How has been your experience?.

LKZ: My experience in farming has been great and excellent. I have met  amazing people who have groomed and supported me. Farming is a practical field and you never stop learning in as much as you can't say I know it all, there are downs here and there especially when crops fail to perform, seeds fail to germinate and farmers may not understand. This all comes back to explaining how crops behave and that's the reason we are here to enlighten farmers. What am proud of is how different exposures have made me diverse. I have worked in irrigation, greenhouse production, sales Agronomy, nursery management, project management, farm management and stayed off in the jungles. All this has made me an all round Agronomist and helps me help farmers problems from experience.

RK: Which region are you in?

LKZ:  I am mainly based in Harare but travel all over Zimbabwe to assist farmers on their projects.

RK: What challenges have you faced? 

LKZ: The biggest challenge is funding to implement my ideas. I have a lot of ideas that are shelved due to financial challenges and also has limited my growth over the years. Furthermore, Zimbabwean farmers do not fully embrace Agronomy assistance. It's very much underrated and that's maybe why so many farming projects end up not being successful due to lack of guidance. Farming is a science and a business it should be taken seriously.

RK: Has age been a hinderance? If so how?

LKZ: Age has been a hinderance to a lesser extent than what gender has been, farmers are not comfortable to be taught how to farm by a woman and have faced resistance much of the time but after talking and they see my knowledge and experience, they usually start appreciating.

RK: Where do you see your farming business in 5 years?

LKZ: In 5 years I should be owning a farm and doing over the top production using modern technology and my consultancy should have grown to employ more youths and have branches for all farmers in Zimbabwe and beyond

RK: If you were put in a room with the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, what would you tell him? 

LKZ: I would tell him to push for land allocation to youth who are trained and have practical and scientific experience to bring back the agricultural position of this country back to where it was and even more. Lack of land is the greatest challenge right now and even if I get one hectare I am sure I can do the most with it. I really hope he sees this.

RK: What would you like say to other young people out there?

LKZ: Young people farming is not a dirty job and a lot of opportunities are still available in farming. You don't have to necessarily grow crops, but you can offer services.

RK: Closing words? 

LKZ: In conclusion I just want to thank platforms like these as they help educate people about farming and motivate going people. I am grateful for the farming journey so far and hoping for more support from everyone. It's the support and encouragement that helps us stay focused even in the face of challenges....Kindly follow me Farm Makeover Company  on google for more info and updates FOLLOW https://twitter.com/FarmMakeoverCo?s=20 on twitter and Facebook Get into farming. Let's do this together. The next batch of millionaires are going to be farmers. The future is farming!

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