NURSE QUITS UK FOR FARMING IN ZIM newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

NURSE QUITS UK FOR FARMING IN ZIM newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

One of the pieces of advice that young Boer goat breeder, Mr Peter Mukombe, always gives to aspiring young farmers is to always start small with the little they have and grow from there.

His transformational journey into goat farming is testimony to this after he left the comfort of the UK and returned to his home country to start a new life.

Today, Mr Mukombe is one of the southern region’s proudest breeders of Boer goats. A pure breed ram, a male goat, can cost up to US$1,000 while females can cost up to US$350.

Recently, Mukumbi requested a simple post in a social media group for farmers that he was selling a Boer goat ram, and 30 minutes later a buyer from Jokwe called and the animal was off the market.

Mr Mukumbi runs a successful Boer goat breeding business on a plot of land in Mfazimithi, Umjoza District, and as of yesterday when the Chronicle met him at his farm, he had more than 150 Boer goats.

He explained how he left his job as a psychiatric nurse in the UK to start farming from scratch.

Mr Mukumbi acquired an idle plot of land after it was repossessed by a previous owner who failed to make useful use of the land, prompting the authorities to reclaim it and offer it to someone who could contribute to the government’s vision of enhancing national food security.

“People always ask how we started and my answer is we started this project with absolutely nothing and that was about 15 years ago but we started with Matabele goats, which are not a pure breed but are disease resistant,” he said.

“The problem with most of our community farmers is that they do not run their enterprises as businesses.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have lived abroad for years but the idea of ​​working for someone else did not appeal to me and my family were very supportive when I told them I wanted to return home permanently. .

“We started with a few goats, indigenous local breeds and faced a lot of challenges along the way but we kept pushing for about three years until we ventured into raising Boer goats because I wanted to set myself apart from the rest of the farmers in the area.

“I bought 10 Boer goats from South Africa, and using the same lessons I learned with the Matabele goats, the business began to grow into what it is now,” Mr Mukombe explained.

Last week, he displayed his work at the Bulawayo Agricultural Show, held in conjunction with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, where one of his Boer rams won an award.

The knowledge he gains from personal experiences and the trials and tribulations of other farmers drives him to improve himself. Mr Mukombe says he has been asked several times why he spent US$75 on semen from premium breed Boer goats from South Africa.

“Breeding is a never-ending process and the reason I still travel to South Africa to buy semen from other superior breeds is because I always want to improve my herd,” he said.

“My Boer goat breeds may have a large body frame but lack the amount of meat I want from a purebred goat, so I look for a farmer whose Boer goat rams can improve my breed.

“From about 30 females, I select six for artificial insemination with semen I bought from other breeds such as a straw of semen I got from South Africa, which costs at least one riyal.” He said 500.

Mr Mukumbi’s farm is self-sustainable as he strives to feed his animals with the fodder he grows.

Like a food-secure nation that feeds its people from reserves accumulated over a number of successive harvests, Mukumbi does not buy livestock feed but produces it on the plot of land.

On a plot of land of about three-quarters of a hectare, he grew corn, sorghum and sunflowers, which he would turn into silage so that his goats would remain food secure for another two years even in the middle of a long drought.

He currently has a silage reserve of about 50 tons that will feed his goats until the end of the year.

“We spent about $500 to grow corn, sorghum and sunflowers, and I’m talking about input costs and we will spend another $500 to harvest the crops and make the feed,” he said.

“The costs of producing silage here on the farm will be much lower than buying cattle feed that will feed 150 goats for a year or so.

“Our silage is basically corn mixed with sorghum, pressed into a pit and preserved with rich nutrients, and we then add a little sunflower to give the Boer goats a balanced diet.

“The crops we have grown will provide us with another 50 tons of feed, saving us a significant amount of money in stock feed,” he added.

One piece of advice Mr Mukumbi gives to aspiring young farmers is to start sourcing feed for Boer goats even before purchasing the animals.

“If I were to start this again, I would go for food security first. It doesn’t have to be a huge plot of land to grow crops for fodder, just a small field and then buy goats.

“Without sufficient feed for the stock, running a Boer goat business can be difficult, especially since most young people do not have the financial capacity to purchase tons of cattle feed every month.” Announce

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