Midlands farmers not enticed into mining

HARARE - Farmers in the Midlands province have vowed to continue with farming although most people within the surrounding communities have turned to small scale mining which is blamed for fast destroying the environment.

Speaking to the Daily News on the sidelines of a field trip dubbed “Look and Learn”, organised by the Forestry Commission recently, farmers said while Zimbabwe’s wealth lies in agriculture, more could be achieved if government supported their ventures.

“Zimbabwe can benefit from agriculture and there is no damage to the environment than what we have witnessed with disorganised mining where forests have been dug and destroyed.

“With farming, farmers do not need heavy machinery and a lot of capital as is required with mining.

“While local people are interested in starting businesses, the hindrance has been capitalisation of their projects,” said a farmer Maidei Muchaiteyihama.

She said Zimbabwe can profit from its soils if government supports them through policies they promoted during the just-ended political party campaigns for the harmonised elections.

“With farming, one can grow in bits and become a success story over time while in mining you have to have the right machinery and hiring of labour is quite expensive.

“Government should pour resources into farming if it is to return the country back to its golden days when it was the bread basket of Africa,” added Muchaiteyihama. Howard Makombe said he was a proud farmer and has been farming for more than a decade. He said in the past, regional countries used to learn a lot about farming from Zimbabwe.

“As Zimbabweans, we are known for our quality farming and this has been benefitting our neighbouring countries as we exported both food and skills.

“We can do more if government was to set aside money from our diamond fields and funding agricultural activities,” said Makombe.

A former miner who is now into farming said she is happy with the change of course for her trade as she is now her own boss.

“In the mines, men are taking everything and giving little to us women, and everything has been politicised.

“You have to know a politician to make it in mining, unfortunately. But with farming, I can easily be my own boss — this is something I grew up doing and I can still farm well,” she added.

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