Farming - a way-of-life to be proud of?
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CTA. 2002. Farming - a way-of-life to be proud of?. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/1. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57151
Young people who decide to pursue a career in farming face many pressures. They may struggle to obtain farm inputs or credit. They may also feel ashamed because they are not working in a ?respectable? white-collar job. This report from Zambia features two young people who describe how they have overcome these difficulties.
Farming - a way-of-life to be proud of? CUE: Farmers everywhere find themselves facing many pressures; they may lack access to inputs, and to markets, and their production can easily be hit by poor rains. For young farmers there can also be a pressure from their friends. Farming tends to be looked down upon, as an occupation for those who have failed to get a paid job in a more respected area like medicine or engineering. In this report, Daniel Sikazwe talks to two young farmers who have overcome these pressures. Both are members of the Zambia Young Farmers Clubs. He asks them how they feel about being farmers, and whether they have been tempted to look for white collar work. The young people come from Kabwe, a town 135km from Zambia?s capital Lusaka. Alice is 22 years old and Viache Makunmbe is 23. Daniel?s first question, ?What made you take up farming?? is addressed to Alice. IN: ?I just came to join into ? OUT: ? that will come behind us.? DUR?N 4?33? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Viache Makunmbe who has taken on agriculture as a way of life, despite the temptation of white collar jobs. Transcript Alice I just came to join into farming through my parents. As I was growing up I just came to get interested in farming, because I?m not educated and I decided to be a farmer, just because I knew I can?t chance a job in Zambia. Sikazwe And so what kind of farming did you start doing when it became difficult for you to go ahead with your education, or to get a job? Alice I started growing maize with my parents. Later on my mum she passed away, and even now I?m depending on maize and groundnuts, including beans. Sikazwe Is that enough to help you earn a living? Alice Yes, at least it is much better than staying, because I?m getting whatever I want through farming. I can afford to keep my kids, to feed myself, even though selling it is a problem. In Zambia we don?t have a good market, but at least I?m pushing myself up. Sikazwe What have been some of the major challenges that you have had to contend with as a young person in agriculture? Alice I face problems with fertilizer at times. So now we are introducing organic for young farmers; I?m even interested in that. I think that at any time or next year, I may change. Sikazwe OK, let?s hear your story Viache Makunmbe from Kabwe rural, that?s a remote part of Kabwe. Just tell me how you got into agriculture. Makunmbe My parents and our family, we are all a farming family. Sikazwe Is that what you had always wanted to do in your life? Makunmbe Well I had wanted to do other things but after having looked at the economic crisis, and the unemployment rate in Zambia, I just settled for agriculture, which created a vacuum at the moment. Sikazwe You obviously had friends that you were growing up with, some that you might have shared ambitions of, for instance, becoming a doctor, becoming a pilot, becoming an engineer; how do you relate to them at the moment now that you are in farming, and they are doing probably what they might have set out to do? Makunmbe Well we relate to each other as we related in our past days, because then as a society we are looking at each others - one has to be a farmer, one has to be a doctor, and the other one has to be doing the other job to make a complete society. Sikazwe Are there times you feel tempted to abandon farming altogether, and take up the so called ?White Collar? jobs? Makunmbe There have been several times I have been tempted to leave farming, due to various reasons, one of them being that you come to hit a concrete wall in Zambian farming where you can?t acquire any farming inputs, and farming cannot carry on like that. Sikazwe So what has kept you going when things were that tough? Makunmbe Well I have taken farming as a way of living, as a religion. I just believe in it, and I just push, and my heart pushes and I just go ahead. Sikazwe So apart from just the issue of having problems with farming inputs, what are some of the challenges as a young person that you have had to contend with in agriculture? Makunmbe The biggest challenge as you asked me earlier on, is how I relate to others. When they look at a young farmer in Zambia, it is sort of a downgrade of people that have been left that don?t have anything to do. That is what as the Young Farmers Club we are trying to cast out and bring something else. And in relation to others that have got a white collar job, the temptation is always there because they are always getting their salaries at the end of the month, they don?t have any problems with inputs. Come rain, come no rain, for them it?s alright. Sikazwe So do you consider farming a career, and what would you want to say to young people out there who might still believe that farming cannot be taken upon as a career? Makunmbe I consider farming as a career, and as a way of life. And I would like to encourage all the young farmers out there to take upon farming as a career and as a way of life, because if we look at life generally, whether we take a white collar job or not, at the end of the day, anyone of us retires to take a small farming life. So I would like to encourage most of my age folk to take up farming, so that even at the time of retirement they are well set, and everything is going on, and that will build up a foundation for all those that will come behind us, and behind those that will come behind us. End of tape