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Urban smallholder farmer transforms passion into thriving business

Mr. Dominico Chitingwiza, a dedicated urban smallholder farmer, has transformed his passion for farming into a thriving business. His commitment to providing high-quality produce while supplementing his income has captured the attention of the local community in Queenspark Suburb, Bulawayo.

Motivated by his upbringing in a rural setting and his family’s farming background, Mr. Chitingwiza embarked on his agricultural journey. Reflecting on his early days, he reminisces about his father’s 12-hectare farm in the Tokwe resettlement scheme. This upbringing instilled in him a deep love for farming.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he ventured into urban farming with just 16 tomato plants. Encouragement from those who witnessed his initial success fuelled his ambition to do more.

With the flexibility and time afforded by the lockdown restrictions, Mr. Chitingwiza dedicated himself to urban agriculture. His efforts proved fruitful, as he discovered that urban farming could not only supplement his income but also provide nutritious food for his family.

By cultivating a variety of crops, including maize, butternuts, cucumbers, green peppers, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, and more, he significantly reduced his reliance on purchasing produce at the market.

Mr. Chitingwiza supplies the Bulawayo farm produce market with fresh horticultural products, and sometimes distributes through large retail outlets.

The impact of urban agriculture on Mr. Chitingwiza’s life has been profound. Today, he procures maize meal for only three to four months in a year, compared to the previous twelve. He proudly shares that his nutritious garden supplies ample vegetables year-round, eliminating the need to purchase them. With the money saved, he can allocate more funds to providing better education for his children.

Running an urban agriculture operation does present challenges. Mr. Chitingwiza highlights that knowledge, time, land, manpower, and capital are crucial factors that demand careful consideration.

His dedication to self-improvement led him to attend short courses at Hamara and enroll in programs offered by the Ministry of Lands. He also utilizes a portion of his salary to purchase quality seeds and seedlings, and sometimes uses previous season seeds due to limited capital.

Mr. Chitingwiza dreams of expanding his project further. With access to a dedicated plot of arable land, located in the fringes of Bulawayo town, and the acquisition of a small tractor, he envisions an even more prosperous future.

By using the land as collateral, he hopes to secure additional funding from banks to support his vision.

He appeals for support from the government and other stakeholders for him to realise his dream of becoming one of the most trusted suppliers of fresh farm produce, through his company, DC Farm Produce.

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