Hope Valley Assembly, Reverend Henry Zihove, Director of the Rugare Orphan Care Organisation, ROCO, in the impoverished Rugare township Kambuzuma, Harare, has managed to live to his organisation’s mission to be light and voice of the community by providing hope, sustainability, employment health; orphan care and support.
Rugare Orphan Care Organisation has managed to provide support to a growing number of orphans of former National Railways of Zimbabwe, NRZ, who are mainly immigrants from Mozambique and Malawi.
Reverend Henry Zihove, said that continuously growing challenges of urban poverty, economic stress, HIV & AIDS forced his organisation to start a number of community focussed projects to enhance the livelihoods of many people.
The Rugare Orphan Care Organisation is driven by 5 goals of food and nutrition; health; sustainability; and life skills
The organisation started a feeding scheme for orphans and children from very poor backgrounds and currently the organisation is feeding over 150 children in the area said Reverend Zihove.
Rugare Township is a highly densely populated small area with 1 118 cluster houses where it is not surprising to see 12 people under one roof such that the issues of sanitation are supposed to be handled well the HIV & AIDS has also ravaged the area hence the high orphan population the organisation has implemented a health programme to address the challenge of HIV & AIDS It also put 32 orphans in foster homes f or the children’s safety and care.
To sustain all these activities the organisation runs a well-managed horticulture project where an impressive crop of tomatoes is produced for a guaranteed retail market
The horticulture project has helped sustain the livelihoods of any families in Rugare who come to do volunteer work at the garden and get part of the produce for their families and a little bit for sale.
Around 8 000 tomatoes plants were grown in greenhouses in early June and the centre harvests between 30 and 40 kg of tomatoes per plant or 3 tonnes per week.
For the success of the project it calls for strict crop management principles and passion for success said Reverend Zihove.
The farmer should also select the right seed and fertigation services from reputable suppliers and at the moment the Rugare Orphan Care Organisation has planted the Candela and the Star 9300 tomato varieties that are early maturing fast growing and high yielding and with also a good crop size and longer harvesting period.
Horticulture production is not guesswork said Reverend Zihove adding that the farmer should always consult or work with experts to get advice on soil status, seed quality, soil profiling, best production techniques, financial management and market intelligence.
Reverend Zihove advised farmers to ensure that they are able to buy three quarters of the inputs for their next crop from one supplier so that they do not mix inputs from two or three suppliers as the suppliers come with different production requirements and methods that borrow nothing from the other.
By Francis Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason