My name is Esnath Nyabadza and I am a 24-year-old young woman farmer from Ward 19 Moyoweshumba village in Mutasa District. I am a member of DAPP Farmers’ Clubs where I am learning conservation farming, smart agriculture and rearing of small livestock for improved food security, nutritional health and income.
I participated in DAPP demonstration plots on conservation farming where I learnt different techniques such as mulching, potholing, intercropping and the use of manure. From each of these techniques, I learnt a hands-on skill and how it promotes crop growth. The demonstration plots were my classroom and I replicated everything in my fields.
My production increased from getting five bags of maize to 14 which is enough for my family till the next harvesting season. I am even selling excess produce at the local marketplace and use the money to buy basic commodities. Budget lessons taught me the best ways to spend and save money something which is helping in boosting my other projects. I hope to continue producing more and expand my market linkages. However, there is very little to none in terms of support given by local government authorities to position local smallholder farmers well so that they can compete with large-scale farmers and imports. The trade imbalance is more acute for certain kinds of agricultural produce. There is, therefore, a need to encourage and enforce local content by laws tailored for the benefit of local women and smallholder farmers. The Local Content Strategy (LCS) is a strategy that can be used to encourage local value addition through localization of supply chains. It is my hope that the strategy will create economic linkages and business opportunities for local entrepreneurs. However, there is a need to implement a local project that focuses on market linkages and specifically identifies value chain roles that can attract youth to be active participants in local agricultural value chains. Looking to the future, I hope to see more women access new markets through group selling within Farmers’ Clubs and linkages to agricultural value chains. The DAPP model is one such model which can assist us with market linkages. I implore the Ministry of agriculture and food security and other relevant partners such as DAPP to continue supporting smallholder youth farmers with linkages to financial service providers that support women’s agriculture activities.