7 June 2021
The Africa University Farm Trust commissioned 6 Bream fish ponds on the 7th of June 2021 in a ceremony that was attended by key strategic partners, staff and friends of the farm. At 30 meters in length and width, each pond holds 6000 fish at various stages of the Bream growth cycle from juvenile fingerlings that weigh in at 1 gram, through to mature adults that weigh 350 to 400 grams. The fish pond project has been a dream of the university farm that has now been realized with the aim of creating an agritourism site in Mutare where fishing and other leisure activities will spring forth as the project grows.
Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mageto in his opening remarks expressed the support of the university for the Farm Trust and the appreciation of the community for the hard work, dedication and vision of the Farm Trust leadership and staff that allows it to grow in leaps and bounds. He said,
” What excites us as management of AU is that while the rest of the world is in a crisis due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, we continue to dream, and we continue to move on. Today is a day to celebrate a lot of achievements made at the farm so far. Firstly, the Dream Farm products are going through a rebranding process and are now available in many retails shops in Mutare, secondly, these products will now be available online, becoming one of the few farms in Zimbabwe that sells its products online. As a matter of fact, it will soon be the only farm that sells and delivers its online products in Manicaland.”
Prof. Mageto went on to speak to the excitement of the executive at the plans to mechanize farm processes in line with the institution’s thrust to industrialize its operations.
Africa University Farm Trust Chairman Dr. Walter Manyangarirwa in his remarks stressed that the ponds would not only provide income and added robustness to the national food security agenda, but will also serve to educate and empower the community through teaching and learning opportunities that shall be provided.
Farm Manager and lead in the development of the enterprise Mr. Trevor Mpofu added,
“We are very happy to represent this university through the activities that we as the university farm embark upon. We shall continue to do the best we can as we are highly motivated and passionate about what we do. The water that we use here to replenish our ponds is clean and safe. We have completed the construction of our hatchery which will create fingerlings which we shall sell to those who wish to begin their own fishery projects. Our farm shall also provide the training for these projects for free to ensure the success and empowerment of our community.”
The ponds form a self- contained system where the nutrient- rich water contained within them will be recycled through the farm to irrigate the wide array of vegetables being grown. The pond water which has a greenish tinge is rich in algae that is grown through chicken manure that comes from the enterprise’s chicken project. The algae is not only eaten by the fish but it also gives an added benefit in that it also provides oxygen for the ponds and acts as camouflage from the prying eyes of birds overhead.
The Africa University Dream Farm has become a jewel of success in the crown of the institution and the province. Partners who graced the occasion from Spar Supermarkets, Surrey Group, Holiday Inn Mutare, Streetwise Meats, MFS Group , Stanbic Bank Mutare and the Command Agriculture Provincial Office spoke to the quality, demand and reach that that exists for Africa University brand products in eggs, yogurts, milk and chickens with the U- Safe Hand Sanitizer produced by the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences also fast becoming a customer favorite.
The Africa University Farm Trust currently has among its projects, chickens- with 6000 layers providing eggs and the Broiler section yielding 400 birds per fortnight. In addition to this, the farm also has a piggery unit that sells serviced guilds and pork . Other livestock operations include Sheep rearing, rabbits , dairy production and beekeeping with a beef pen fattening project in the works. Crops are also grown that include tomatoes, cabbages, potatoes and Soya Beans. The farm is also a contributor to the national Command Agriculture Programme that seeks to increase food production and security across the country .