Lifeline for Gonarezhou smallholder farmers
Tatira Zwinoira, The Independent Zimbabwe
November 18, 2022
Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (GCT) has partnered local chilli firm Kacholo
Chili Company (KCC) to help 216 smallholder farmers affected by wildlife
around the Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) in the southeastern part of
Zimbabwe to generate income as a mitigatory measure.
GCT is a partnership between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority and the,Frankfurt Zoological Society an international
conservation organisation based in Germany.
The initiative by GCT is being implemented as a result of increased
wildlife attacks on livestock of communities in the Gonarezhou area that
have cost them thousands of dollars in annual economic value.
“After running around we discovered that there is a company by the name
Kacholo Chili Company that is doing a chilli out-growers scheme in the Zaka
area and part of Maware in Chiredzi. So, we decided to pay a scouting visit
to Kacholo, to the Zaka area, to see how they are doing it,” GCT
spokesperson Hebert Phikela told NewsDay Farming during a three day-visit
to GNP that began on Monday.
“Actually, our focus was on human/elephant mitigation strategies, and then
we realised that chilli is actually a good cash crop that can be tried in
this particular landscape, so we brought Kacholo here. We facilitated the
introduction of chilli farming. We were targeting elephant crop raiding
hotspots, but the way we wanted to introduce this particular project was to
empower those who are able to do chilli farming on their own.”
He said after their baseline survey, Kacholo decided to invest in this
“Kacholo also donated chilli for chilli brick moulding so that is one of
the benefits from the Gonarezhou side. So what happened was we registered
the farmers who were willing to do chilling farming, we engaged them, we
workshopped them, we convinced them that this is one of the best projects
and did a trial with 216 farmers and it turned out to be a livelihood
project immediately,” he revealed.
Speaking to several farmers in the area, NewsDay Farming learnt that these
farmers are earning about US$300 to US$400 a month because chilli can be
grown throughout the year.
The type of chilli used takes about three months for the plant to mature
before farmers can harvest, which is done over a period of a year before
needing new chilli plants.
Farmers said apart from the seeds, Kacholo also provides the inputs needed
such as fertiliser and supports these farmers drill boreholes and wells to
irrigate their crops.
Kacholo was set up in 2018 to assist Nandos (a chicken fast-food subsidiary
of Simbisa Brands Limited) as the Zimbabwean farming partner to their Peri
Kacholo says farmers are guaranteed the purchase of their crop, at a
competitive price set at the beginning of each season.
NewsDay Farming understands that farmers are getting paid in local currency
at higher forex rates than the official ones and will soon be paid 60% of
their incomes in United States dollars.
The company has over 1 000 small-scale farmers growing the chilli crop.