Sustainable farming transforms life of former convict

Sustainable farming transforms life of former convict

Khumbulani Nyoni (39) a youth farmer from Insiza district in Matabeleland says he has received a second chance in life after receiving support from PELUM Zimbabwe partner Zimbabwe Project Trust (ZimPro) to start a vegetable garden on his 50 square metre piece of land. Khumbulani says he makes at least US$3 from vegetable sales every day. Photo: PELUM Zimbabwe.

By Thomas Ndlovu.                  

People with a criminal history are often shunned by society and face difficulties returning to a ‘normal’ lifestyle, particularly earning a living. Cognisant of this, PELUM Zimbabwe’s strategic partner, Zimbabwe Project Trust (ZimPro) has been extending a lifeline to disadvantaged individuals with different backgrounds in the Insiza district of Matabeleland North province, without discrimination.

One beneficiary of the work being done by ZimPro is Khumbulani Nyoni (39), who is a former convict. Khumbulani says that when he left prison he struggled to provide for his family as he could not find employment due to his background.  

“I started interacting with ZimPro which taught me about producing food in a sustainable way. The actual transformation came when I started learning about how agriculture can be a source of income if done in a sustainable way,” says Khumbulani. 

Khumbulani says following the training he received from ZimPro, he started focusing on growing different types of vegetables on his 50 sqm land for income generation.

When I started my project, I had a small piece of land measuring only 50 square metres. I started using chicken manure gathered from other farmers in my community to enhance the fertility of my garden. Now I grow over ten different types of vegetables including kale, mustard, red cabbage, and bell peppers among other vegetables which I then sell to support my family,” he says. 

Khumbulani says although this project is still small, he is able to make at least US$3 a day  which is enough to provide for his family.

“On average I earn about US$3 per day from my vegetable sales. I then use the money to take care of my 5 children and my wife, pay school fees and also supplement my family’s diet,” he says. 

“For me this is a lucrative business. I could not find a job because of my history as an ex-convict but agroecology has given me a way out and I have turned over a new leaf, “ adds Khumbulani.

Violet Moyo (54) the programme officer for ZimPro says the goal of ZimPro is to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable livelihoods for communities.   

We are providing training to small-scale farmers like Khumbulani so they can produce food for their families and also school their children. Vegetable gardens have proven to be an effective and sustainable way of food production and livelihoods improvement,” says Violet.

Bongani Mbedzi (53), the Agricultural Technical Extension Officer (AGRITEX) officer for Ward 17 in Insiza district says vegetable gardening is helping many people to earn a living.

Vegetable gardening is a sustainable way of earning a living to those who are determined farmers. Vegetable farming has helped small scale farmers like Khumbulani take care of their families,” says Bongani. 


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