BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
A GROUP of villagers in Gwanda North, Matabeleland South have formed a company, which is largely into livestock production, in a bid to economically empower themselves and develop their community.
Formed in November 2018 and registered this year under the name Green Pastures Livestock Company (GPLC), the company seeks to produce broilers, cattle, goats, venture into irrigation, aquaculture and sell farming implements.
GPLC chairperson, Lindiwe Nkala told Southern Eye on the sidelines of the company’s second anniversary celebration held in Enqameni recently that the company was formed by 20 members —16 women and four men.
Currently, they are producing broilers and supplying big to supermarkets like Coolland in Gwanda and other shops in Bulawayo.
“Our company started in November 2018, starting off as a club but with a vision to form a company.
“We used the knowledge and skills we got from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HHZ) to grow our business,” Nkala said.
HHZ, whose main aim is to help poor and marginalised people create better livelihoods for themselves and their families in rural Zimbabwe, empowered GPLC members with business skills, resources, costing, customer care, record keeping as well as connecting them to larger markets among others.
Through its interventions, HHZ has made great strides in the fight against poverty in Lupane, Nkayi, Bulilima, Gwanda, Shurugwi, Chikomba and Chirumhanzu. Nkala said they firstly came up with a constitution as a guide.
“We then started rearing chickens.
“When we started we were 51 but some dropped along the way after finding it difficult to continue,” he said.
Their journey to success had not been easy.
For instance, in 2019 before they registered as a company, the group lost about 150 chickens that got rotten due to power cuts in Gwanda.
“This affected us significantly but we didn’t give up. Fortunately, when that was happening, HHZ organised a competition involving three groups in the area including us and we became number two in that competition. Some groups were keeping goats while some cattle,” he said.
The groups were judged according to their record keeping, performance, business knowledge among others.
Instead of giving them money as a prize, HHZ, in consultation with the group, gave them 450 day-old chicks, 36 bags of feeds, medications and vaccines.
“This boosted us a lot because from that 450 chicks, we have managed to sell about 1 500 chicken. Currently, we supply big supermarkets such as Coolland with chicken.
“We have started supplying the Bulawayo market and they like our chickens due to their big size,” he said.
The company releases about 300 chickens to the market every week. Nkala, however, said they were facing a serious challenge of chick shortages in Gwanda.
“Day-old chicks are in short supply in Gwanda.
“That is the major challenge we are facing as a budding company,” he said.
In the next five years, the company expects to be releasing about 1 000 chicken to the market per week, have a delivery truck and to open a big shop in Bulawayo or Gwanda.
Ward 6 councillor, Kellon Sikula, whose jurisdiction the company is situated, commended the members for bringing development into the community.
“I expect this company to help people going forward. Currently, there are no jobs in this area, a situation that has forced young people to resort to illegal mining or cross to South Africa,” he said.
HHZ programmes director Emmanuel Makiwa urged other groups who are doing small enterprises to formalise their operations.
They should also increase production and produce goods of high quality, he said.
Meanwhile, in Kafusi village in ward 16, HHZ donated a male dorper, 30 female sheep (local type), feed, vaccines and building materials for a sheep kraal to a group called Ikusasa Lethu which is into sheep production.
The group, consisting of 8 members, became number one in a competition organised by HHZ.
They have got 53 sheep and 18 of those are ready for the market.
“We are looking forward to register our group as a company. By end of year, we are targeting to have 78 sheep while next year we want to increase the figure to 150,” the group’s secretary Maqhawe Khumalo said.