Re­pen­tant Chi­na­masa ex­cels in farm­ing

The Manica Post - - Local News - Love­more Kadzura Rusape Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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