Farming, in general, is an active industry in Zimbabwe. Under normal circumstances, the Zimbabwean economy is largely anchored by agriculture. Unfortunately, for some years now that has not been the case due to several reasons. One of them of course is climate change. The over-arching reason is the lack of proper policies and investment into that industry. Otherwise, there is vast untapped potential especially given how appreciation for farming continues to spike. Small scale farming is the most subset of the farming industry in Zimbabwe. Here are some small scale farming ideas that you can consider in Zimbabwe.
One of the most lucrative horticulture ventures you can do small scale. The best approach is to cultivate them using greenhouse farming. That way you maximize on space and also on yields. There are many tomato varieties you can consider. Let us suppose you set up a greenhouse 8 metres by 25 metres in size. You can reap over 10 tonnes of tomatoes from that small piece of land.
Watermelons are yet another perfect for greenhouse farming. (By the way, you can also do open-field farming in place of greenhouse farming. It is just that greenhouse farming yields more and is impervious to unfavourable weather elements). Anyways, watermelons are fast-moving plus they mature quite fast. It takes them just 3 months to reach maturity. In a year you can successfully do 3 batches. You can reap as many 24000 watermelons per hectare. That translates to as much as US$12000 gross revenue per hectare.
Then there are cucumbers, another fast-moving commodity. It is said that 50 per cent or more of Zimbabweans eat cucumbers regularly. Cucumbers mature even faster, some varieties maturing after just 1 month. I can use the 8 metres by 25 metres greenhouse scenario. You can harvest roughly 12000 cucumbers from that. That will be around US$6000 in gross revenue. Given the short maturation period, you can have several more batches in a year.
Fish farming has become one of the fastest-growing farming areas in Zimbabwe. This has been made easy by the modern fish farming methods now easily available. The biggest game-changer is the portable fish pond – some having a capacity of 3000 fingerlings or more. This means you can do fish farming anywhere. There are several Zimbabwean enterprises providing training and selling all the needed inputs. One notable example is Agrimarine Solutions. They provide all there is to acquire and learn about fish farming in Zimbabwe. After everything, they can even buy back from you when the fish have reached maturity.
Sweet Potato Farming
Sweet potato farming is a great farming venture. Sweet potatoes are a healthier substitute for bread. Plus sweet potatoes can even be processed into several other products. Sweet potatoes are not always readily available, they tend to be seasonal. Thus the demand for them tends to always be there. A piece of land 100 metres by 100 metres can give you 2500 20-litre bucket fulls of potatoes. You can pocket a cool US$10000 from that relatively small piece of land.
I am preaching to the choir on this; chances are high most of you are doing poultry. The 3 core areas of specialization are broiler chickens, layers, and free-range (roadrunner) chickens. Another variation in this field is focusing on the hatchery. I think there are huge prospects in this area. Why? Poultry farmers usually struggle to get adequate and consistent day old chicks. Hatcheries in Zimbabwe are not managing to satisfy the market demand. All in all, there is infinite potential in poultry production in Zimbabwe.
When it comes to small livestock production in Zimbabwe I highly recommend pig production. Pigs can be reared for meat production and breeding or both. It is reported that there are not enough pigs (sows – the female ones) in Zimbabwe. This means more and more players are needed in this domain. Pigs can give birth 2 times a year and they have good reproductive rates. A sow can wean at least 10 healthy piglets per birth. In a year one sow could have weaned 20 or more piglets. If you have 5 sows, that would be around 100 or so piglets. So it takes just one year for your pig production venture to soar.
This is another small livestock farming area I highly recommend. Operating costs are relatively low because goats are resilient animals. They can thrive just by foraging for food from their surroundings. If you can afford to throw in commercial feeds, that will be a bonus. They also do not need elaborate housing and can withstand harsh weather. Goats can sell for good prices on the market, ranging from around US$100 to over US$300. Boer goats are some of the most sought goat breeds. Another breed to consider is the Kalahari.
Green Beans Farming
Green beans are also called fine beans. Green beans are preferred by most Zimbabwean families. They are a good source of protein plus they are favoured as relish by many. They take about 2 or so months to reach maturity. About 15 tonnes of green beans can be harvested from 1 hectare.
The great thing about nurseries is that they do not need much land and water. One can just set up their plant nursery in their backyard. I recommend you to look up the story of Spinyard Seedlings. This is the biggest producer of seedlings in Zimbabwe. Anyways, there are so many areas of focus when it comes to planting nurseries. Most crops or plants are propagated from seedlings so they are usually sought after. Most vegetables, for example, are cultivated from seedlings.
With these, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to small scale farming ideas in Zimbabwe. There are so many support structures, service providers and experienced farmers as well. You have all or most of what is needed to thrive doing these farming ventures.