By Emmanuel Hove Mhike
Horticultural farmers in Zishavane and Mberengwa have applauded the work done by the Horticulture Farmers’ Association (ZvishaMbe) in cushioning proper safety nets for farmers during the coronavirus lockdown that was recently initiated by the government.
In the wake of the 30 day lockdown announced by the government on Saturday 02 January 2021, scores of horticulture farmers have been encouraged by ZvishaMbe’s efforts in ensuring the safety of farmers and their produce during lockdown. Speaking with this reporter, Milton Musokeri a registered member of Zvishambe applauded the work done this far.
“We are really grateful, the Association is active in facilitating dialogue with local covid-19 task force, local authorities, vendors and farmers. This has since created a conducive environment for safe trade and Covid-19 awareness,” he said.
Mazvihwa based youthful horticulture farmer Taona Chirindira encouraged farmers to be cautious, organized and shun individualism especially in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Fellow farmers now need to adopt and adapt to the new normal way of doing business. Covid-19 precautions need to be practiced all the way from the field (production) to deliveries and marketing. Provision of Protective Protection Equipment (PPE) to workforce is a must for all. ZvishaMbe is encouraging us to shun individualism and create synergies that enhance not only productivity but safety of farmers and their produce,” said Chirindira.
ZvishaMbe Horticulture Association Executive Director Andrew Simango emphasized the critical role and essence of Associations like ZvishaMbe in organising both the farmers as well as the market.
“Zvishambe is spearheading a lot of activities right now as previously witnessed during the first lockdown last year. We organize our farmers to have a systematic marketing of their products by linking vendors directly to the produce in the farms. Whilst we discourage convergence of farmers and vendors at the market, we find that farmers from other districts are also infiltrating Zvishavane market, that’s their right off course, but due to this Covid-19 scenario, we are helping the police to hunt down offenders of the laid down rules of trade at the markets. We also serve as a link between farmers, vendors and the district covid-19 taskforce (DDC’s office),” said Simango.
Zvishambe was formed in January 2020 after the founders realized there were gaps which needed to be filled in order to enhance productivity in the two districts’ farming communities of Zvishavane and Mberengwa.
The idea came from Andrew Simango and Prosper Chinyakata. The major mission of the association is to Promote, Advance, Protect, Advocate, and Safeguard the interests and socioeconomic -rights of horticultural farmers in Mberengwa and Zvishavane.