FIVE years ago, Mr Douglas Msipa, the son of the late national hero, Dr Cephas Msipa abandoned artisanal mining/ukukorokoza for farming.
The decision baffled many people who believed there was more money in artisanal mining.
Furthermore, his choice of specialisation, garlic, appeared to be a poor move as many believed the market was limited.
Mr Msipa had a torrid time explaining the unpredictable nature of ukukorokoza versus the more stable and relatively stress-free life of a farmer.
Finally he decided to act and show his critics what he meant.
Mr Msipa now employs 50 people and is one of the renowned garlic farmers in the Midlands Province making more than US$5 000 per month from local sales.
Mr Msipa said he is planning to increase land to be put under garlic and other associated crops.
“I have 20 permanent employees and 30 casuals. I specialise in labour intensive crops. At the planting stage, we need almost 100 employees every day. Five years ago, I started garlic farming and stopped Chikorokoza,” he said.
Mr Msipa said garlic has up to a year of shelf life.
“We get regular monthly income of around US$5 000 from local sales,” he said.
Mr Msipa encouraged local farmers to grow garlic, ginger and turmeric saying they are good cash crops.
“Instead of buying chemical dip, garlic can keep ticks away from all your animals eliminating tick-borne diseases,” he said.
This season, Mr Msipa has garlic on 10ha and is expecting 70 tonnes.
He said he started growing ginger and turmeric last year adding that plans are under way to put value addition infrastructure at the farm.
Mr Msipa said he was producing for both local and export markets thereby saving the country the much needed foreign currency which was spent on importing garlic, ginger and turmeric.
“My advice to farmers is to start small on the high-value crops which can be grown anywhere in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mr Msipa, who is a beneficiary of the successful land reform programme, hosted the Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of Monitoring the Implementation of Special Agricultural and related programmes, Davis Marapira at his Cheshire Farm along Matobo Road in Gweru recently.
Minister Marapira urged land reform beneficiaries to fully utilise their land to assist the country to bring in the much needed foreign currency.
He said increased productivity on farms would help the country to get foreign currency and create employment.
The minister toured the 10ha of garlic field, one-hectare ginger, half ha of turmeric field under irrigation from Which Mr Msipa expects to harvest 70 tonnes garlic, 20 tonnes ginger and five tonnes turmeric.
Minister Marapira commended Mr Msipa for the massive irrigation project and encouraged other farmers to emulate him.
“Production at farms helps generate foreign currency and create employment,” said Minister Marapira
He urged farmers to venture into growing cash crops such as garlic, ginger and turmeric.
“Value addition is important because farmers realise more from their produce while also creating employment,” said Minister Marapira.