Cows (1)

R5 start for womena��s cattle project

Nhlalwenhle Ngwenya
HARD work and smart thinking has paid dividends for a group of 10 women from Insiza North District Ward 16 in Matabeleland South.

It has been three years since the group founded Asithuthukeni Farmersa�� Club with nothing but an idea of making each member become a cattle farmer.

Today, the women are proud owners of a herd of 15 cattle. Two are Brahman and the rest are Tuli breeds. Mathematically, it means each member lays claim to 1,5 cattle.

What is touching is that when they started in 2013, each member contributed R5, a somewhat joining fee.

a�?We started off with R5 because ita��s what we could afford. With time we realised that the money was small, so we increased to a dollar per month and eventually to $10,a�? said the Farmersa�� Club secretary Blessed Mani.

Insiza is in Matabeleland South which is known as Region 5 in agricultural terms because ita��s suitable for cattle ranching. Therefore, ranching became an obvious choice for the women ahead of crop production.

But before venturing into cattle ranching, they attempted mining because ita��s the most prominent economic activity in the area.

a�?We used to join men in gold panning but it proved to be laborious and dangerous and besides most of us are relatively old and we have reached the retirement age of 65. So we decided to look for plan B.A� With advice from the Zimbabwe Project Trust we began this project,a�? said Mani.

In traditional patriarchal societies talk about a man and you talk about his cows but in Insiza therea��s no way this female success story can be ignored.

Ranching has given them more ideas on how to make money. They also have a microfinance scheme whose profits will be channelled to their core business.

a�?Ia��m confident that I will even send my children to college,a�? said Gladys Mpala, a member.

The sky is the limit and the associationa��s chairlady Sukoluhle Ncube said with enough money and support they would source irrigation equipment and give crop farming a shot.

a�?When we were young our parents tilled this land and produced food to last us throughout the year. But now we cana��t get enough maize, as such we are working closely with Zimpro to start an irrigation scheme. We also wish that other community members could join us so they benefit,a�? she said.

The executive director of Zimbabwe Project Trust, Tobias Chipare, said the womena��s key to success was careful planning and patience.