The beautiful Southern African nation of Zimbabwe has not had it easy for nearly two decades. At one point their were food shortages, then fuel shortages became as common as a protest in Buenos Aires. The cherry on top however was and is the rolling blackouts, meaning citizens go for large amounts of the day without power.
In more developed nations such as the United States or Argentina, whom have both experienced blackouts recently, this is catastrophic. However for Zimbabwean farmers it is about navigating any challenge to ensure food is produced for the nation.
For business partners and farmers Samora Thuthani and Benefit Washaya, there is no excuse for not being in the field. People need to eat and food needs to be produced. This is evident in that the pair recently installed a spotlight on their farm, in order to irrigate at around 3am, when there is power. A move wisely implemented by their experienced farm manager Aaron Daka.
For most farmers this would already be a severe challenge, and would drive many to the point of no longer farming. For this young pair they feel they have a duty to their Country to make sure they play their role in feeding the nation.
Which leads us to the next challenge these farmers are working to overcome. Zimbabwe has been using the Real Time Gross Domestic Dollar (RTGS) which is not officially recognised by other Countries, and therefore impacted the foreign currency reserves coming in to the Country.
This affects farmers gravely, as many products are imported and the costs of these goods rises daily. How can one operate when the price of their inputs constantly rises? Benefit simply says, one should plan in advance and buy all inputs on the same day to risk rising prices.
We looked at the Bulawayo Market Prices last Wednesday and were interested to note that carrots rose from RTGS$1.00 per Kilogram in the morning to RTGS$1.67 per Kilogram in the afternoon. This gives one an idea in the fluctuation of the current currency.
Clever Mandzvidza who is a part of the Federation of Young Farmers Club Zimbabwe (FYFCZ) sent out a strong and inspirational message to fellow Zimbabwean farmers: “The hardships which we are going through are unprecedented. But we must not forget that for Zimbabwe to feed, the farmer must remain steadfast and determined to produce.”
The FYFCZ provide a support network for young farmers across Zimbabwe. They disseminate information and knowledge to ensure farmers are up to date and in the know when it comes to agricultural developments. These types of support bases are essential in creating an efficient and cohesive farming community. Where the variety of ideas and opinions can help to overcome any challenge.