Beitbridge widow scoops top farmer prizes
A WIDOW with seven children who is into fish farming, among other activities, has been selected Beitbridge’s best farmer after beating fellow contestants at an annual district agricultural show dominated by women.
Mujini Ndou from Dimlomo village who exhibited chicken, fish, garden products and crops was the overall winner at the show, where prizes were overshadowed with the wonders that farmers in this dry district can do with meagre resources.
Ndou has a borehole, but can match any commercial farmer if adequate resources are availed to her.
She has 80 cattle, 20 donkeys, 60 goats, 20 sheep, 1 500 broiler chickens in different age groups, a fish pond with 3 000 breams, a green garden, a full granary and a pack of dogs to guard her fortune.She is by far a farmer out of the ordinary and uses a hand built water tank for her fish farming.
“I could expand, I am able,” she said smiling with her first prize of a plough.Francisca Sibanda from Chigomele about 12km outside Beitbridge town took the second position with her rare exhibition of indigenous fruits orchard among other activities including fish farming.
Single handed, Sibanda married to an ex-soldier, built small dams where she does her fish farming project started with six breams.She has an orchard of Azanza Garckeana (mutohwe) and Zizphus Abyssinica (musawu) with more than 200 plants of the latter.
Sibanda won a spray gun for her crops, a spade, but above all the joy of being noticed for her god work.“The prizes are small, but being found among the best is reward enough,” she said.The women excelled at the show organised by Caritas Masvingo and the Catholic Relief Services.Communal farmers from across the district exhibited crops and various farm products.
Beitbridge East MP Kembo Mohadi advised farmers in the dry constituency to migrate from traditional maize cropping to smaller grains that withstand arid conditions.
Mohadi also asked agro-dealers to pay competitively for farm products, particularly cattle that are the mainstay of the district.
In a speech read on his behalf by his wife and Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi at an annual district agricultural show, Mohadi asked farmers to diversify and venture into productive cash-cropping and conservation.
“I want to implore our farmers to migrate from our old traditional ways of farming and venture into innovative methods such as small-grain production, conservation agriculture, agro-forestry, irrigation development and fodder production,” he said.
“Matabeleland South is privileged to be a livestock zone where production of good breeds is conducive,” he said.
“I want to challenge our farmers today to view crop and livestock production as a business and not for social status.”
Mohadi implored farmers to use the show to exchange ideas and improve their standings.
Crops generally perform badly although Beitbridge lies in agro-ecological region five characterised by long dry spells and very little rainfall.
Some communal farmers in the district have up to 1 000 herd of cattle whose cattle population is over 140 000.
Hosts Caritas Masvingo, a Catholic non-governmental organisation, is encouraging farmers to add value to their products with a deliberate bias towards goats farming.
Caritas Masvingo is encouraging farmers to discover high levels of nutrition in goat milk.
“It should be tapped and used to feed children and entire families because its got high nutritional value,” Caritas Masvingo officer Melania Macharaga said.