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Posted 01/19/2021 in Agricuture

Being a young farmer in Zimbabwe : Part 9

Being a young farmer in Zimbabwe : Part 9

As Master’s graduate and an astute farmer Tafadzwa Prosper Bvunzawabaya (TPB) has cemented the fact that passion drives all. In this article, he shares his journey through his entrepreneurial life and how he came to be the great farmer he is today.

RK:  Can you tell us about you

TPB: I am a 36 year old guy, born and raised in Mutoko.  

RK: Can you share your story

TPB: I attended Mazowe High School and Peterhouse.  I then attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas, where I graduated with a degree in Business Administration.  I returned to Zimbabwe because I could never see myself living abroad.  I missed home so bad I realized I couldn’t wait until a time when things had changed but rather I would find my path in Zimbabwe.  After returning I dabbled in lots of business projects some successful some not so.  I also embarked and completed a Master’s in Business Administration with Midland State University.  I am businessman and farmer in Mutoko specializing in fruit tree production, and horticulture.

RK:  What motivated you to start farming?

TPB: I have been a career entrepreneur all my life.  I have embarked on plenty of projects usually solely based on the bottom line.  It was never about the love or passion of a project or business but purely for profit.  I then happened across farming through an article I read from New Zealand about Avocado Farming.  It peeked my interest so I began my research.  I was intrigued because it involved long term investment and also export.  Upon further research and actual foray into farming activities I realized I actually enjoyed it.  It became a passion, something I actually enjoyed doing, not just about the bottom line.  

RK: How has been your experience?

TPB: It has been a difficult journey filled with a lot of lessons.  Things that I have known but had never experienced on the ground.  The lessons learnt have been to not doubt myself and always get wake up and get on with the task even when it’s hard, complicated, new or insurmountable.  You will be surprised how good you are at doing things and solving problems once you dare to put your feet into the water.  I have experienced the power of making and using your networks, offering value to them rather than being the one to always ask for favors.  

RK: Which region are you in?

TPB: Region 3

RK: What challenges have you faced?

TPB: Funding has always been the biggest challenge for most businesses in Zimbabwe.  Funding for Capital Expenditure and Working Capital.  However I have tried to overcome this by using what I have or have access to and leveraging with the value I offer to access things that I need without necessarily having to pay cash.  For example, my first maize crop.  I funded the seed by offering trees that I had grown to a school acquaintance in exchange for seed maize.  The seed maize was worth about $200USD which I didn’t have so we swapped with 20trees that I had grown and grafted.  I then planted half a hectare of maize with part of the seed.  I sold as green mealies at $1 for 6, which netted me close to $1500.  I have mainly crossed the bridge of funding through offering value in exchange for the things I need without necessarily having to part with cash.  

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

TPB: Age hasn’t been a hindrance at all.  If anything I am not a young man.  My physical appearance however makes people think that I am much younger than my age.  If anything I wish I knew and did things I am doing now when I was in my 20s.  That would be the only age hindrance, I have less energy and less time on this planet than a 20 year old.   

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

TPB: I entered into this business hoping to establish a retirement package but stumbled on a passion.  I see this business established to an extent that it sustains me and itself until my end of days and that of my family after I am long gone.  I also see it as something I will derive pleasure from for the rest of my life.

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

TPB: Make agriculture attractive to the young generation, offer them land that is not difficult to get.  A process free of red tape and bureaucracy.  Give the youth equipment and facilities to embark in farming activities.  We have plenty of youth in and out of Zimbabwe, which means plenty of untapped energy and fresh ideas.   They are Zimbabwe’s biggest resource waiting to be inspired and join in making Zimbabwe a powerhouse.   

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

TPB: Don’t think too much about entering into farming or business.  Start with what you have and gain experience through action.  You have all you need with your phone, an endless database of information you can use to fully research on any farming topic.  Use your data on researching topics that develop your ideas, Google farming topics, watch YouTube videos, use Wikipedia, follow Instagram & Twitter accounts that have to do with farming.  Network and get to know others in the business, visit farms and do not be shy to ask where you do not know.

RK: Closing words?

TPB: If I could turn back the hands of time I would have started in my 20s.  Farming is the future, youth should embrace it and find ways to be a part of the process.  It is a low hanging fruit with great returns and adds value to one’s life.

To get in touch with Tafadzwa, you can connect with him on https://twitter.com/EntrepreneurFar?s=20

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