RAU alumni drive small farm to lead rural development opportunities in cyclone torn Zimbabwe

A small family farm in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe is offering hope to local communities torn apart by Cyclone Idai. With unemployment figures in Zimbabwe said to be more than 80% (Reuters), more and more Zimbabweans are starting up their own businesses to support their families.

Dombera Farm , a well-known export business who have been operating since 1962, are seeking to support local entrepreneurs by providing a central “hub” for local small scale and commercial farmers alike.

Dombera wishes to build on its existing work with farmers by providing high quality seedlings from its registered nursery, offering internationally accredited packing facilities for fresh produce and providing affordable transport links to those living and working in the area. This is in addition to the employment opportunities provided by the farm itself.

Speaking about his vision, Allan Bailey, RAU alumnus and the Managing Director of Dombera said: “It has been our long term vision that Dombera Farm would be at the heart of our local community and support those wishing to produce top quality fruit and vegetables. Now more than ever, our local community needs help to rebuild after the devastating impacts of Cyclone Idai and we have the experience to make it happen."

He added: "We have started a GoFundMe Campaign to help raise the necessary capital to repair and improve the facilities provided by the farm but we will only succeed if the wider world gets behind us.”

RAU alumna Claire Bailey, who oversees the international farm assurance programme at Dombera added “We were incredibly blessed not to lose a single life on Dombera as part of Cyclone Idai. However the storm destroyed our dams and our water supply for the year ahead. Our people support more than 1000 dependents both on the farm and across Zimbabwe. If we cannot raise sufficient funds to restore water to the farm, we will be adding to the already massive humanitarian crisis when we know we can offer part of the solution.”

The existing land reform programme in Zimbabwe means that farms cannot use land as a bankable asset for loans through the commercial banking sector. Crowd funding offers a unique way for Dombera to raise funds to fulfil their ambition to be at the heart of their recovering community and show people exactly what their money can do.