Mentorship needed for young farmers

I am a young Zimbabwean farmer from Bulawayo. I grew up on a farm but was not really into farming as I did not have a clear vision of the prospects of the industry.

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My father was wise enough to save up and buy a farm in 1992 as part of his retirement plan. However, I was more concerned about shaping my own career path. Of course we did some farming but it was mostly subsistence as we tried to grow enough vegetables for the family and sell off the surplus. We also reared some cattle, goats and poultry.

Although we were quite successful in some of our endeavours, my biggest concern has always been growth and sustainability. Upon going back home from the University of Pretoria and after studying a degree that I didn’t enjoy, I was faced with several problems, which included inefficiency on the farm, poor infrastructure and many employee issues.

My parents argued that they were successful since they had managed to send all of us (five children) to some of the top universities in South Africa. However, what I saw on the farm was that most resources were under-utilised and that with the current situation our success would spiral downwards. The situation in Zimbabwe is difficult as most agro-implements are either unavailable or very expensive and financial institutions extend limited help to businesses. Also, government policies are counterproductive and there is a lot of red tape.

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I am currently in South Africa seeking advice on how I can best manage our farming enterprise. What young farmers like me need is mentorship from farmers with loads of experience. I’d like to thank Bill Kerr for some tips on vegetable production, and Farmer’s Weekly for always enlightening us on better farming practices and modern day farming problems and solutions.

I am eager to learn,so if anyone is willing to share some tips, please email me at [email protected].