Nqobile Tshili, columnist
Mr. R. Lameck Sibanda from the village of Silozwi in southern Matabeleland was a trinket seller working in either Victoria Falls or Harare before quitting his job to support his wife, a poultry farmer on their farm.
Mr Sibanda, an elderly person, says the proceeds from the poultry project allowed him to buy a car, build a house and even drill a borehole, which he was unable to do over the course of his very long career as a salesman.
He does not hesitate to say that he did not contribute much to the poultry project, as his wife who preferred only to be identified as Mrs Sibanda did most of the work.
Mr Sibanda said his wife was indeed the patron of the poultry project which has improved the life of the family.
The family joined the Sondela Range Outsourcing Program run by successful commercial farmer Mr Peter Cunningham together with his partner, Turn Matabeleland Green manager, Bishop Patson Netha.
The Outsourcing Program aims to help smallholder farmers get the maximum benefit from their farming projects.
Under this program, villagers who are first trained in managing a poultry project receive chicks, feed and necessary chemicals, and the commercial farmer then buys the chickens.
Villagers are also trained in horticulture, ostrich and livestock farming for commercial purposes and the projects speak of rural industrialization, a strategy adopted by the government to improve rural life and reduce the rural exodus. .
Ms Sibanda, who raises more than 1,000 chickens at any one time, said the poultry project had lifted the family from poverty to wealth.
“Before, I had serious water problems, but since I started this project, I have solved this problem.
Now I have a borehole on my farm and the family is guaranteed to have enough water for household and agricultural use.
We managed to supply our house with solar energy and built a modern house.
For me it’s a business and it made me realize that you can be economically productive even in our backyards, ”said Ms Sibanda, who has been involved in the Outsourcing Program since 2012.
She said she is able to send her grandchildren to school with the proceeds from the poultry project.
Mr Sibanda said he was not the only one who returned home to provide for his wife.
“When she first told me about the project, I was a trinket seller commuting between Harare and Victoria Falls.
When she started to make a profit, I came home to support her.
In this company, she is the boss. But our lives have been transformed now that I drive a car and it’s because of these chickens, ”said Sibanda.
Many villagers involved in the same project also confirmed that their lives had changed for the better.
A Chronicle press team observed that almost every farm in the Nathisa area has a poultry run.
Ms. Winniefrida Ncube from Tombo village said she started the project in 2016 after realizing the successes of other women.
She said that just two weeks ago she received a payment of $ 100,000 for the chickens she provided.
“I managed to send my children to school without difficulty. I am fully paid in terms of fees.
“I managed to build a two-room house.
I bought a Scottish cart and cattle among other assets.
Those who started before me even managed to drill boreholes in their homes, ”Ms. Ncube said.
She said, however, that their only challenge was the thieves who stole their chickens at night.
The projects not only helped reduce the rural exodus, but also saw men return home from neighboring countries such as South Africa and Botswana.
Bishop Netha, who started the outsourcing program, said women are the engines of rural transformation.
He said men generally take a wait-and-see attitude and only join in when the project starts to make money.
“When the women started making money from this outsourcing program, the men started supporting them and those who had left the country for the so-called greener pastures of neighboring countries started to return home. .
I know a woman back when we were using the US dollar and got US $ 10,000 from the proceeds of her poultry project, ”said Bishop Netha.
He said what is encouraging is that even young women are joining the outsourcing program. – @ nqotshili