Precarious lives in the kukiya kiya economy, and return to irrigated farming
We asked folks in Zhombe to send us stories about their socio-economic circumstances as an opener into how some of them are getting by in Zhombe. This is one of the several stories we publish today. Make sure to check some of the stories on this website. What advice do you offer to MM?
My name is MM and I was born at Nemwanwa near Great Zimbabwe National Museums and Monuments in 1986. I am the sixth born in a family of 9. I did my primary education at Nemanwa Primary school (grade 1 to 7).
We then moved to Chief Samambwa area in 2000 where my family had bought a homestead with farming fields. I attended Samambwa Secondary School. However, I stopped schooling in 2002 at Form 2 as my father could not afford to pay fees for my secondary education.
To assist my parents I had to be independent from 2004. I was doing piece work. Kiya kiya, vending and chikorokoza, as well as fishing from Munyati River.
I belong to the Johane Marange Apostolic church, and I got married in 2006. By 2010 I had 2 wives, and I thought the best thing was to return to farming seriously. It’s a better way of making a living down here in Samambwa.
My father got a self-contained plot across Munyati River at some farm in 2008, where I am staying with my brothers and mother (he is now late). Currently I have four wives and 7 children. I am now a farmer practising intensive market gardening.
My mother allocated me a piece of land (1 ha) in her dryland field which I can use. But you don’t get much from dryland farming. Occasionally, we draw water from Munyati River but that is not easy because of the terrain.
I irrigate 1.5 ha, growing cucumber, maize, vegetables (rape) and tomatoes. I sell in Kadoma, and sometimes at Empress and even Sanyati, depending on season cash flows.
My whole life is now centred on farming. I started in 2010 by using buckets, then in 2012 I bought a 5.5 HP irrigation pump which I use to irrigate my crops all year round.
With my four wives, we grow tomatoes, green mealies, cabbages and butternut. But there are uncertainties about the land. It’s state land, so I don’t know how long I can stay. I must move to my own field and get a borehole for the pump to irrigate there. The soils are good. I want to enlarge my business supplies by growing vegetables for export, and I want to buy a delivery truck so that we can deliver of produce to the market in a timely way.