By Lance Guma
In 2006 Zimbabwean David Mwanaka was one of only two black farmers in the United Kingdom. Six years later the former journalist turned farmer adds another milestone by introducing a new maize variety, his very own experiment.
In an exclusive interview with Nehanda Radio.com from his farm in Enfield, London, Mwanaka says in addition to the ‘usual’ white maize crop he has been growing and selling, he invested time into experimenting with a new breed of maize that is a mixture of sweet corn and normal white maize.
“This season we are introducing a new variety of chibage (maize) never known anywhere in the world. Just my new variety, it has a bit of sweet corn and chibage and is sweet. It’s a product of years of research, working on something. You can say remix, but it stays fresh for longer, compared to chibage,” he said.
What started as Mwanaka growing white maize on a small plot of land in his landlord’s back garden near Tottenham football club in north London has seen his project grow to 20 acres in Enfield, and another six acres in Salisbury. He has also added a shop ‘Mwanaka Fresh Farm Foods’ in Enfield to sell from.
Growing white maize in the cold climate of the UK is not an easy task but Mwanaka persevered and spent six years experimenting until he pulled it off. Homesick Zimbabwean exiles now frequent his shop to buy rare white maize, pumpkin leaves, rape, choumoellier, tsunga and butternuts, among others.
Astonishingly Mwanaka said he did not have a strong farming background, having only previously flirted with growing potatoes in Zimbabwe. Unknown to many though is that Mwanaka is also a musician and plays bass guitar for his band ‘JODAM’ formed with his 14 year old son Jonathan and niece Joanne.
Mwanaka Fresh Farm Foods, 619 Hertford Road, Enfield, London, EN3 6UP.
You can visit their website: Mwanaka Fresh Farm Foods