For most young girls from disadvantaged communities in Zimbabwe droppingout of school at an early age puts an end to any prospects of a better life.
A good number of them turn to early marriage as a gateway out of poverty and some even opt for sex work. According to the Research Advocacy Unit, in Zimbabwe, 31% of girls are married before the majority age of 18, with the prevalence of sexual violence among girls being as high as 32,5%.
But 21-year-old Chengeto Muzira, from Mutoko District in Zimbabwe has a different story. Chengeto dropped out of school at the age of 16, but did not see that as the end of the road.
In fact, it was the start of a fertile and yielding journey. She decided to venture into farming. Now 21-year-old Chengeto speaks of a successful journey as a young small scale farmer, a journey that has had a fair share of challenges.
“When I look on the outside world it’s difficult for me to find a professional job where I sit in the office, so I thought maybe if I go the agriculture way I can be able to venture in and push towards my dreams.
“I thought to myself right now I’m unable to go further with my studies. I’ve tried to produce onions, cucumbers and horticulture,” she told ZTN.
However, her journey is not without challenges.
“At times I face challenges such as when I get to Mbare Musika, my products will be rotten due to transportation difficulties.
“I don’t have enough equipment to process my produce so that I can be able to get more money through processed and value added goods so these are some of the challenges I’ve been facing as a small scale youth farmer,” she said.
Chengeto is a member of the Zimbabwe smallholder organic farmers’ forum which advocates for small scale farming.