from SUKUOLUNHLE NDLOVU in Masvingo, Zimbabwe
MASVINGO – A YOUNG Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) graduate has taken goat breeding to a higher level.
Gracious Rumbidzai Shonhai (24) says economic hardships facing thousands of graduates in Zimbabwe forced her to embrace entrepreneurship, rather than searching for an elusive job.
“I never realised l had the potential to be an entrepreneur. However when l was at Great Zimbabwe University that is when l started making burgers and French fries and l sold them at the campus. l also started to do laundry for students,” said Shonhai who graduated in 2018.
“I embraced entrepreneurship and then after school, I realised the need for goat meat on the market and it became an inspiration for me to start breeding goats and make money.”
She admits economic hardships also played their part and influenced her to take the business seriously.
“Seeing how the economy was melting down was a wake-up call for me and when my father was retrenched, I then realised that l had to look for an alternative source of income and not stay at home, hence the reason why l decided to be a goat farmer,” said Shonhai.
However getting started was not easy for the young woman who was awarded a certificate of recognition by the GZU, handed to her by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“Starting my business was a difficult road for me as l had to travel long distances to source goats and l also had to have a good environment for my goats. I started off with 21 goats on a space l was renting but now l have my own farm in Mushandike and l have 134 goats in total.
“l am selling them to develop the new farm. Lucky enough, l secured a contact with local hotels and this has become a major boost to my business,” she said.
Even though her business is going on very well, she is facing a number of challenges.
“Diseases are affecting my goats. Sometimes there are diseases that take down the whole herd and l then seek help from the veterinary department.
“Recently there was an epidemic attack on the livestock which was potentially deadly enough to destroy all my animals but l am happy l managed to fight the disease and keep the goats out of danger. Goats are also under regular attacks from pythons and other predators,” said the young goat farmer.
She said she has some advice for her fellow youths.
“To all the youths out there, let us realise who we are and rule our own destiny rather than sit back and relax. Let us realise the economic challenges we are facing and make the best out of the situation. Let us be entrepreneurs and not wait for employment as we know the economy is facing challenges,” she said.
The support she gets from her parents keeps her going and also the fact that she was raised in a Christian background and she puts God first in everything makes things easy for her.
– CAJ News