Smallholder builds upon NWK's mechanisation initiative
By James Luhana, Operations Manager – Finance and Input Markets
The tractor service contract by NWK Agriservices awarded to Edison Simoonga, a local tractor contractor, could not have come at a better time than during the off peak season when the demand for tractor services had slowed down.
Edison Simoonga on his tractor and boom sprayer
50-year-old Simoonga of Chikoyo village in Sinazongwe District was awarded a service contract worth ZMK12,300 to plant 39Ha of cotton and spraying 36Ha of the crop using NWK Agriservices implements and agrochemicals at Nzenga PPP Irrigation project.
"In addition to my 38 farmers that regularly utilise my tillage services, my two sons and I literally camped at the site and completed the job within eight days. This was a huge boost to my income that I generate through the tractor service business," explained Simoonga who is married with 11 children.
In 2012, Simoonga purchased a 60Hp Mahindra tractor, a ripper and trailer at a cost of ZMK142,080; a loan under the NWK mechanisation scheme, supported by Musika and WFP. Using the equipment, Simoonga progressed to commercial crop production of up to 45ha growing cotton, maize and sunflower from the previous 5ha cultivated using oxen.
With the increase in production and income, he was able to pay back the loan which was pegged at ZMK1,300 interest per month within a period of three years.
Simoonga has built a three bedroomed house roofed with iron sheets for his family, bought 16 cows and has managed to sponsor his six children in higher education with one at the University of Zambia while five are in boarding at Secondary Schools from the income raised from his business.
Without the tractor operations I wouldn't have managed to send our children to school, build, invest in cattle, service the loan and also ensure that the family has enough food. We never starve
at my home as food in ever available," explained Simoonga who could not hide his excitement.
"I have been a proud owner of a tractor and its implements," he pointed out.
Simoonga attributes his success to the Tractor Business Skills training on service provision conducted by Musika, NWK Agriservices and WFP that he attended before and after accessing the equipment.
He also explained that mechanising farm operations brought with it numerous benefits such as quick turnaround with regard to land cultivation (ripping), and additional income for his household through the transportation business.
Simoonga plans to invest in another bigger HP tractor by 2020 as part of his efforts to contribute to the development of his community with the increasing demand by farmers willing to access tillage and other tractor services.