SHERWOOD- Known in Zanu PF circles as Gonyeti owing to her imposing body structure, very few people would imagine that MP Perseverance Zhou whose farming business is envied by many is a professional teacher-turned-farmer.
“You know, I am a professionally trained teacher but what I can tell you is that I am now more comfortable with being called a farmer than a teacher”, said Zhou, beaming a characteristically infectious smile during a conversation with reporters while on a tour of the Zhous Perschard Farm in the Sherwood area recently.
Married to ex-diplomat and Zimbabwe Heritage Trust (ZHT) National Coordinator Pritchard Zhou, it is no wonder that Hon Zhou was named Perseverance by her debatably ‘prophetic’ parents. Indeed, the success of Perschard Farm could never have been achieved without the perseverance of MP Perseverance Zhou.
It is, indeed, that perseverance which has seen Perschard Farm becoming a force to reckon with in the agrarian sector. Her thriving farming business is, in actual fact, a resemblance of that special spirit of downright perseverance and barefaced hard-work. Perschard Farm now boasts of a vibrant fish-farming project, a livestock-rearing venture and an orchard which is undoubtedly well catered for.
“You know, we have invested quite a lot in this project and we really want to thank the government for bringing into the fold the Command Agriculture initiative. I must say this programme has, indeed, uplifted farmers’ lives, especially on matters to do with agricultural inputs. Seedco has also been very cooperative in the supply of the much-needed inputs”, she said.
In diametric contrast to the fact that the 2018/19 agricultural season wasn’t as successful as the preceding seasons, the Zhous are expecting an average of five-to-six tonnes per hectare from their vast track of agricultural land.
According to Hon Zhou, Perschard Farm has a staff compliment of twenty-five full time employees whilst the bulk of the workforce is employed on a contractual basis. She also said that, on a good agricultural season, they are capable of increasing their labour force.
The couple has now categorised its responsibilities with the husband taking care of the orchard, the fish-farming ponds and livestock (cattle, goats, etc) while the farmer-turned-teacher takes care of the fields.