Repentant Chinamasa excels in farming
YOUTHFUL entrepreneur Mr Booker Chinamasa continues to circumvent challenges associated with his past and is making up for the lost time by writing a unique history as a fully rehabilitated and repentant criminal-turned-agriculturalist.
Since being allocated a 43 hectare plot at Kelvin farm in Headlands, Mr Chinamasa (34), who has had several brushes with the law and spent time in jail, turned a completely new page to concentrate on maize farming under the Government sponsored Command Agriculture scheme.
He met with success unexpectedly.
This season, Mr Chinamasa planted 180 hectares of maize under the special maize scheme, and chances are he is in for a massive harvest as his crop is thriving and healthy.
Last year he planted 80ha and landed the prestigious Manicaland Farmer of the Year in the maize category sponsored by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe.
In a rare show of wisdom, Mr Chinamasa invested the proceeds in his new trade, leasing out surrounding farms which were grossly underutilised over the years.
He turned them into a green belt of cereals and the impressive work this season has not gone unnoticed as Mr Chinamasa was chosen by SeedCo as one of the few successful commercial maize farmers in the province to host a field day.
The event, held on Wednesday, was attended by prominent agriculturalists across the country, among them white commercial farmers and farmers’ unions among others.
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said Mr Chinamasa exuded a shining example of how Command Agriculture should be implemented to transform the agricultural complexion in the country.
Senator Mutsvangwa said Mr Chinamasa’s success should help to transform the mindset of youths and other unscrupulous elements notorious for diverting sponsored inputs on the black market.
“Zimbabwe wants more farmers like Booker Chinamasa who are dedicated and have zeal to overcome challenges of their generation and work an extra mile in helping Zimbabwe to regain its bread basket of Africa status. We are here witnessing what a focused youthful farmer can do; this is a shining example of proper maize farming. He achieved this feat by embracing agronomic advice, and of course he shunned the temptation of diverting the availed inputs on the black market as is the case with others.
“Command Agriculture is the best ever agricultural loan scheme this country has availed because it comes with no collateral demands, and any serious farmer who wants to earn meaningful returns must put the inputs to good use.
“Let us all appreciate and emulate the work that is being done by Mr Chinamasa in furtherance of government’s call to quickly return our country to food security. Seed-Co has done a great job also in supplying the best seed maize and agronomic assistance to derive maximum benefits from their products. With these qualities, I have no doubt that not only will we make farming a profitable business, but also significant contribution to Zimbabwe’s quest to achieve food self-sufficiency,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.
Mr Chinamasa said he was repentant and will do his best to complement government’s efforts to feed the nation. He said he wants to diversify into cash crops and livestock.
The small size of his plot was drawing him back, he said.
“I have turned on a new page and fallen in love with farming. I am not looking back. I am grateful to the Government for the Command Agriculture programme because it has really capacitated young farmers like me. My major hindrance is the small size of my farm. The majority of my crop is on leased neighbouring farms, and this is affecting my plans to diversify into other cash crops and livestock,” said Mr Chinamasa.
Federation of Young Farmers Clubs Zimbabwe national chairman Mr Philip Sewera said government must not be sceptical in availing loans to young farmers as farmers like Mr Chinamasa have proved ability beyond doubt.