Zim men create thriving farm on 'useless' land in Malmesbury

2016-05-06 09:02

*Comments have been opened for this article.

Cape Town - Five Zimbabwean men have been successfully growing crops on land abandoned as unprofitable in Malmesbury. The landowner, N7 Meat, gave up farming crops on the land, claiming losses of over R1m, GroundUp reports.

Albert Zinhanga and four friends met the landowner when buying an ox for slaughter at N7 Meat in 2014. Noticing fallow land, they asked why it was unutilised. The farmer said it was unprofitable and if the Zimbabweans refused to believe him, he said they could try and farm it for free for a year. They could use his farming equipment and only pay for electricity.

He bet them they could not make a go of it.


Albert Zinhanga, one of the N7 farmers. (Photos supplied)

According to Zinhanga, a teacher of African languages at Cravenby High School in Parow, the farmer was told it would cost R300 000 to correct the pH of the soil. He didn’t want to invest further and continued concentrating on rearing sheep, cattle and pigs elsewhere on his farm.

Zinhanga has four partners; one has a doctorate in agriculture, the others have degrees in physics, science and engineering.

“We never dreamt or even thought that one day we will be farmers,” said Zinhanga. “We were just a group of academics driving around buying farm products.”

The five men tested the soil and the water and it seemed good to them, albeit sandy. To counter this, they say they watered continuously before planting any crops. They planted three hectares in all, with tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and maize.

Neighbouring farmers, watching the developments, came to them and gave advice. They also introduced the men to Cape Town Epping Market to sell their produce.

When the maize crop ripened, the surrounding farmers were stunned. They said they had never seen such big stalks, says Zinhanga.


Some of the maize grown by the farmers.

The Zimbabweans say the secret is to use cow dung and not to rely solely on fertiliser.

After the initial success, the farm owner offered them the land at a rental of R1 200 per hectare.

They now farm 15 hectares and have also started growing a leaf vegetable called tsunga. They call themselves the N7 Farmers, but as they all have full time jobs, they work the farm on Saturdays and Sundays and during the week take turns after work.

They have six employees. The farm manager is Malawian. Four general workers are South Africans and there is one Zimbabwean. During planting and harvesting time, they hire 20 part-time workers on Saturdays.

Zinhanga and his team were announced winners in the small business of the year award category on 2 April at the Cape Town Zimbabwe Excellence Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony 2016 at Kelvin Grove, Newlands.

Read more on:    cape town  |  agriculture  |  good news

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
82 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.