May 28, 2023

By Penjani Nzima

QUALITY is what comes as the first priority in the production of his farm produce and on this aspect, there is truly no compromise whatsoever.

This is the proper description of who Max Jumo is and what he believes in when it comes to taking farming as a business.

He was born in 1996 in the town of Mumbwa and grew up at the farm of his father learning and perfecting the art of becoming a successful farmer.

This knowledge of farming that he acquired from his father was stored and used later in life because he had branched off and perused a different career all together. In short, he became an Auto Mechanic specialized in Volvo trucks at Skale Transport.

“I worked as a mechanic for two to three years dealing both mechanics and auto part specialized in Volvo systems and later on Chinese trucks under a company called Skale transport,” he explained.

Mr. Jumo did not hide his words but pointed out clearly that he was inspired by his father to go into farming.

“The person who inspired me to go into tomato farming is my father because we were raised up from the farm in Mumbwa. I was born in a farming family only to resign from my work. I was working as a mechanic at a certain company only to resign to start agriculture in 2019 – 2020 farming season,” he indicated.

He began his vegetable farming journey in the year2020 after retiring from his mechanic job at Skale Transport. All this commenced in Makeni here in Lusaka with an initial 5,000 tomato plants but later grew this to 30, 000 plants on a one and a quarter acre of rented land.

As the saying goes where there is the will there is away, manifested in the life of Mr. Jumo as with the passage of time he managed to procure about 100 hectares of farm land in Mwembeshi area.    

“We have acquired about 100 hectares at the moment in Mwembeshi area near the bridge and we’re hoping to do another borehole after encountering two dry boreholes.  We have-not started operating now because of the dry bore holes. We’re waiting for finances this month end and if we have a successful that’s when we will immediately start working,” he indicated.

Mr. Jumo does not only restrict himself to tomato production on his farm but also does a wide variety of other crops that include onions, cucumbers, cabbages, rape and we have also started a project for avocado.

“We want to plant about 100 hectares of avocado but for now we have only grown seedlings that will cover about 15 hectares for a start. We have the seedlings available already to transplant in this 2023 –2024 season,” he noted with extreme joy in his voice.

Mr. Jumo points out clearly without having anything to hide that the success he has scored in his vegetable farming business has not been a walk in the park but encountered numerous challenges some to an extent of almost giving up but determination and resilience is what has made him to be who he is up to date.

“In the journey of farming, we have many challenges like this past season we had this crop that didn’t do very well because of the rains. It was something that was natural we couldn’t control it. Yes, we had a very huge challenge we lost a lot of seed by that time.

“We had planted about 40,000 tomato plants but the yield was compared to less than 5,000 plants. The yield was very poor we couldn’t even reach the minimum tonnage of the harvest,” he gave this account.

Mr. Jumo points that just like any other businesses vegetable farming has got its own challenges as well among them include the notable ones such as same fresh farm produce flooding the market, high cost of production, unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change and much more.

He said determination is one of the most important quality one should not lose if they are to stay afloat in this kind of business.

“This business is not something easy. You can just listen to someone telling you more profit here. It’s not something you can go with that mindset. It’s something that you need really to prepare yourself before starting it Yes, the work would pay you good give you all the allowances all those things but the time I started working on my own at the farm there is such an improvement,” he explained.

He is giving a word of caution to some people who may have intentions of quitting their careers to venture in farming before preparing adequately.

“And the other thing before you even consider letting go your career, like myself what I did when I considered resigning from my career, I had some projects running at the farm. When I saw that it was necessary to resign that’s when I resigned.

“I wouldn’t advice someone to resign before the prepare adequately. You only be advised to resign and focus on the farm only when you see that okay for the farm is now able to sustain all my needs and I’m able to continue growing the crops,” he warned.

Mr. Jumo wants to graduate into a successful commercial farmer in the next five years.

Read More