A successful Beitbridge farming couple, Mr Erasmus Marema and Ms Saliwe Tlou, has adopted an integrated farming system at his Zhovhe farm to boost crop, livestock, poultry and fish production as well processing activities.
The farm that is situated close to Zhovhe dam and the couple has taken advantage of the massive water body to maximise agriculture production on their 2000 hectare piece of land.
The enterprising farmers have also invested in fish farming with the Aqua Culture and Fisheries Department Manager, Mr Knowledge Nzunza revealing that while they are currently producing about a tonne of fish every week plans are in place to go bigger.
“Our main target is to produce up to 1000 tonnes of fish. Right now, we are doing a tonne every week which is supplied to our main butcheries in Gwanda and Beitbridge. But we are in talks with government to go full throttle,” he said.
In terms of crop production, 150 hectares are currently under the winter wheat crop.
Part of the farm has also been dedicated towards growing sugar beans, watermelons and various vegetables.
The self financing farmers have also invested in state of the art machinery for the processing of mealie meal and flour, thus benefiting local communities.
“Last summer season, we produced 270 tonnes of maize, which we are processing to mealie meal and selling to the local communities at an affordable price, because as you know this place is prone to drought so most households do not harvest much. We also have state of the art machinery to process flour which we also sale to local outlets,” said Mr Marema.
Ms Tlou revealed that about $10 million has been invested in their operations and appealed to the government for more land, amid plans to procure a herd of 8000 cattle for their livestock projects.
“After benefiting this piece of land from the government, we made it a point that we work hard to produce four our country. We have not slowed down from day one, despite that we have not received any funding from any institution or government. However, all we want is more land, since we are also into massive livestock production,” said Ms Tlou.
Zhovhe Farm currently has a herd of 900 cattle and 600 goats and sheep.
Construction of cattle kraals to accommodate a herd of 11 000 cattle is currently underway.
Meanwhile, the farming venture has managed to create jobs for about 300 people with the majority of employees being locals.