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Social Cohesion: The Key to Small Holder Farmers Development

The small holder farmers in Zimbabwe have for some time remained small and subsistence farmers due to the lack of market control. Mbare Musika is a hive of activity in the early morning as farmers deliver their produce. It is disheartening to know that many of these are small holder farmers who toil working their backs out in the scorching heat in addition to some problems they are already facing. The painful truth is that many of the farmers are mostly living out of farming as it is their business and livelihood. Reports have been made of farmers who end up selling their produce below the production prices just to get money to return home.

The way the market is structured across Zimbabwe in major cities and towns does not support the growth of the farmers. There is lack of cohesion among the farmers as they do not control the market prices, neither do they determine the exit prices of their produce. I have noted that in most cases farmers often struggle to pay transporters after making deliveries to the market. Social cohesion is one of the many ways to help small holder farmers to grow and sustain their farming activities. Wikipedia defines social cohesion as the willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper. eZunde proposes to gather farmers together as part of social cohesion to develop strong market links and determine market prices for their products. eZunde members will benefit from up to date market information aiding them to make informed decisions on markets.

Through eZunde farmers have an opportunity to commercialize and be sustainable as they are currently being ripped by middlemen. Lack of knowledge of markets and marketing information has been seen as one of the major challenges bedeviling small holder farmers as they fall prey to middlemen who exploit them. There are a lot of farmer representative bodies but for some reason, they exclude small holders though they play a significant role in the economy. eZunde was established with the small holder farmer in mind.

Photo credit: ICRISAT