Reluctant youth changes mind about farming  

Reluctant youth changes mind about farming  

Caroline Nkomo (24) from village 21 in ward 17, Insiza district has been implementing various water conservation techniques on her small garden. Caroline says water conservation has improved her yield and way of life as she is now able to get income from her farming as she now grows different crops throughout the year.  Photo: Nosisa Purazi.

By Nosisa Purazi

Caroline Nkomo (24), a young farmer from Insiza district says when she started her garden, she had no real interest in agriculture. Based on her experiences growing up, agriculture was not a profitable endeavour. 

She says that she only decided to give farming a try because she was encouraged by a neighbour who had set up a drip irrigation system in his garden and seemed to be doing well.

“I was inspired by my neighbour, Aleck Nkala who always encouraged me to start a garden and make use of the community borehole for water. He would plant vegetables in his garden throughout the year using water from the community borehole. At first, I was reluctant but once I started my interest in agriculture increased, “says Caroline.

 She says it was that same neighbour who always encouraged her to try farming who also helped her to set up her own garden and drip irrigation system.

He helped me set up my garden by preparing the land and laying pipes for drip irrigation because water is a scarce resource in our community,” says Caroline. 

Caroline says with her interest in farming growing, in 2022, she decided to join a local lead farmers group, where her knowledge on farming increased and she began to learn about more sustainable farming methods.

“In 2022, I decided to join one of our local lead farmers group, which is a member of Sisonke Agroecology Learning Center.  There, I learnt about zero tillage where a pothole is dug without disturbing the surrounding soil structure and that pothole is called the planting station. The manure and water is applied directly in that hole. I have been planting my garden like that ever since and this has increased my yield because it directs all nutrients to the plant,” she says. 

Caroline says fully embracing agriculture was one of the best decisions she has made. Her garden is doing very well and she is earning money from it.

“In the 2022 agricultural season, I managed to harvest Six by 50kg bags of beans. I also planted some tomatoes which I sold and they gave me US$200 in total,” she says.

Temba Busangabanye (48) the Agricultural Technical Extension (AGRITEX) Officer working with Caroline’s community says he is happy that youths are showing more interest in agroecology. 

“The youth in this community have begun to see the benefits of farming. We have been providing technical support and knowledge on agroecology and water conservation. This has been beneficial to the youth who are showing enthusiasm in this work,” he says.

Themba Ndlovu (70), the headman says agroecological practices are proving to be beneficial for his community, increasing productivity despite limited access to water. 

I commend the hard work being done by these young farmers. Agroecology has really helped our water conservation efforts and protecting our environment. Our communities do not have a lot of water and many farmers are now teaching each other water conservation, water harvesting and agroecology and we are now more productive because of these initiatives,” he says. 

Caroline says she hopes that more young farmers will embrace and adopt agroecology like she did because of the vast benefits it offers such as sustainable food production and environmental conservation for future generations among others.


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