Turning Matabeleland Green is a program started in 2013 which involves various churches in Matabeleland. TMG is founded on the belief that the productive engine of African agriculture rests in small-scale farmers and that the right training and vision can help to multiply the productive potential of their vibrant business minds.
How does this work?
TMG is trying to disable the prevailing mind set of need. Specifically, the need for aid. We work based on the parable of the talents where you use what God has given you, not what aid gives.
Many farmers have land already and far too many cattle for their land capacity. If they sell just a few of their cattle they then have the capital to begin their own business. This method means that they are more driven to make their business succeed as they have put in the capital and sacrificed for it. TMG supports them with training and farm visits as they start up their business.
Over 1,500 farmers and community leaders have been trained through TMG and it is creating a real momentum and buzz. We have also set up a business school in Bulawayo which gives more intensive, directed training in key areas critical to small-scale farming success.
We are in the process of setting up rural distribution outlets in conjunction with churches in areas where most of our farmers are based. These outlets provide training, support and inputs to farmers to stimulate production and meet local demand.
To give an idea of how this works; the average sale price of a chicken is $6.00 and the average cost of production is $3.80. This gives farmers an average net profit of $2.20 per chicken or $143,000 per week split over an average 800 farmers. Because of this many farmers are gaining confidence in their agricultural businesses and have started to experiment with cropping as the program is showing them that this can actually be even more profitable than chickens.
On top of this we have over 80 farmers who are contracted directly for chickens, producing over 750,000 chickens per year. Their farms are models of what can be achieved and have been inspirational in the training seminars we have done. We also have key farmers contracted to grow tomatoes and other crops in the Maphisa and Zhulube irrigation schemes.
What is the impact of this?
We believe that this all happens as part of a bigger picture as you can see described below;
- Ebenezer trains and shifts the mind set to see agriculture as a business as well as providing the training and confidence to carry it out. It is the ignition to get going; founded on connecting with the knowledge the Jesus’ life and presence are with us and for us.
- From Ebenezer, model farmers prove on the ground that what they have been taught is possible. This is key for aspiring farmers. These model farmers are a mixture of Ebenezer graduates and TMG farmers. TMG is the key to mobilising farmers throughout the church and spreading their productive capacity.
- Stores and the tomato plant serve as outlets for farmers to sell their produce and also buy their next set of seedlings, animals or other inputs.
By setting up such systems and strengthening them, we can successfully change mind sets and TURN MATABELELAND GREEN!