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From university to farm

While many youths aspire to reach out to the big world after graduation, Gloria Gusha and Freddy Leonce Kweka have the dream of becoming real farmers in their country. They really inspire and encourage the next generation in implementing sustainable farmers.

During the #CFS 44 side event on “What today’s young agricultural leaders need to meet tomorrow’s SDG challenges”, they unveiled interesting and inspiring stories. They started with sharing their opportunity to enter university, and their initial difficulties and successes. Then also offered encouragement to the next young farmers to set up farming initiatives, which are innovative, viable and sustainable.

Gloria Gusha from Zimbabwe, who studied Horticulture and Crop Sciences at the Masvingo Polytechnic, opted to become a female farmer when she was a child. In the beginning choosing agriculture, she has faced many barriers such as family suspicion or lack of funding to try horticulture.

‘My field can’t access to irrigation systems. So, I decided to borrow from the bank to set up a water pipeline but they need a valuable collateral. I’m young person, I do not have assets. I also asked my father to use his assets but he doubted that I will fail.’  Gloria shares.

Gloria has now become an agricultural extension officer and grows sesame, soya beans, maize, tomatoes, peas and cucumber along with a variety of other crops dependent upon the season. She practices organic farming as a means of reducing costs. She has also branched out from traditionally farmed crops to adopt alternatives cash crops in order to increase her livelihood and supplement her family income. Gloria herself has also trained nearly 700 farmers and inspired the farming best practice for youth in her country.

‘Farming as a business’ is an advice of a young farmer, 27 years old – Freddy Leonce Kweka for sustainable agriculturists. Freddy graduated from the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro and spent the first two years after graduation trying to convince his family to change their low-efficiency farming practices.

‘Slowly by slowly I would like to change my parents thinking and convince them to use new technology or even new practice. In the beginning, they didn’t agree my suggestion and I asked them to give me a small plot to test my method. After 2 years, they see its difference comparing their plot and mine. And now they trust me’. With his family, Freddy has two plots of 10 and 2 acres of arable land on which he grows mainly maize and yellow beans.

As an extension officer, Freddy inspires and encourages the younger farmer generations to learn technical skills. He also offers them insight into long-term profitability and value, from land preparation to post-harvesting handling, holistic farm management, land preservation, new technologies including improved seed varieties, use of fertilizers and agrochemicals, and farming as a business skill.

Gloria and Freddy are typical and practical models proving that farming is not difficult for youth equipped with knowledge and passion. We hope that there will be more farming success stories about youth spreading from here.

 

This post is part of the live coverage during the 44th Session of the Committee on World Food Security, a social media project supported by GFAR. This post is written by one of the social reporters and represents the author’s views only.

Find the original post by Tran Ha My on the CFS blog.