18 May Bringing Cattle Rearing and Horticulture to Gen Z’s
Engineer and AVI fellow Theresa Chidembo is the founder of CARTHO, which focuses on cattle rearing and small-scale horticulture to produce good quality and organic beef and vegetables for the people of Chivhu town in Zimbabwe.
Commercial farming is unpopular among the youth in Zimbabwe. Many people perceive it to be uncool and a rural venture for old people. Even the Food and Agriculture Organization once proved that the global average age of farmers is 60 years old. Theresa finds this mindset problematic because at the retiring age, most people are usually tired and unlikely to think outside the box, affecting their efficiency in food production and their ability to innovatively solve some of the challenges faced on farms.
Agriculture is one possible booster of the Zimbabwean economy, considering that the country was once the breadbasket of Africa. Change will only be realized when young, energetic, curious and innovative individuals start taking farming as the first resort on a commercial basis.
“I aspire to embrace farming gloriously as a young person, so that many young people will be inspired to begin farming at a young age.” said Theresa.
The fellow’s biggest challenge during her time in the “transformative” AVI has been “finances”:
“I need money for literally every stage of the business. I also foresee the need to deepen the borehole for permanent water supply which requires money.”
Boasting two degrees in Engineering and Computer Science, her fellow engineer, mentor Emmanuel Akin-Awokoya, is helping her on her journey. He co-founded InvestXD, a platform that provides tools to compare different investment products, in 2017. Their services help users learn about investment and discover investment options with the best performance. They hope to bring about a new experience of investing, enabling people to invest as a group, invest towards a goal, and understand the money market.
The multilingual entrepreneur is also a financial analyst, business developer, social media campaigner, business strategist and a fundraiser.
He stated that his collaboration with Theresa has been a “smooth process” and that they are currently working on her “customer acquisition strategy”. The AVI entrepreneur uses the project management tool Trello to organize her daily tasks and keep a log of all her business accomplishments. Wishing to be a “part of the evolving Afrocentric ecosystem”, the mentor joined the AVI to help guide recent graduates on their path to entrepreneurship and to help them avoid “the mistakes” made by those who came before them.