Alumni Showcase: Mr Notius Tarisai

It is with great excitement and pride that today we showcase the remarkability of Mr Notius Tarisai, a Master’s alumnus of The Da Vinci Institute.

His is a tale we would like to share as he is one of our paragons at the home of remarkability – a place he speaks fondly of. Notius attributes his learning journey at The Da Vinci Institute as being an intellectual metamorphosis for him.

He states that, “prior to my enrolment at The Da Vinci Institute, I understood the role of technological innovation in various industries and sectors; through The Da Vinci Institute, however, I was educated on social innovation. I then applied the theory I had learnt to bridge the gap between rural farming systems and commercial farming methods and reconnected the learning outcomes with my rural upbringing and influences in my dissertation.” Having work experience that spans over three decades, says Mr. Tarisai, such was relatively, “an experiential background without a formal knowledge base.” Through his Master’s journey, he enhanced the skillset that he already possessed and the theoretical underpinning gave substance to his experiences.

Notius’s dissertation entitled, “The Underutilisation of Land by Small Scale Commercial Farmers: The Case of Gandami”, is a substance of research that is dedicated to all farmers in Gandami who have dared to embrace the challenge of agricultural change and transformation that promises to be of benefit more especially for the Gandami community and its environment – the country (Zimbabwe) and hopefully her posterity included. Notius, humbly credits most of his Master’s journey and final completion to the farmers and their families for their sacrifices, commitment, and support. He feels that they remain his heroes and heroines.

Notius adds that he is, “deeply indebted and eternally grateful to my supervisors for their expert guidance and patient direction throughout the duration of this project. Without the skilful guidance of Dr Kada and Dr Muchineripi [chances are] this project would not have succeeded.”

When asked about what propelled the decision for him to embark on this research project, Notius accords that it, “is a culmination of my burning desire for agricultural transformation and [curiosity about] the societal issue of underutilisation of small-scale commercial farms.”

Moreover, “amongst the small-scale farmers of Gandami, agriculture is not just regarded as an economic activity but has been interwoven with the community’s socio-cultural practices. Notwithstanding the centrality of agriculture to the survival and well-being of the community, the utilisation of land by small scale farmers in Gandami remains marginal leading to food insecurity at both the household and national level”, says Notius.

Therefore, this research, chiefly driven by the requirement, “for research-based interventions … sought to understand the key impediments towards the full utilisation of land. Having identified these imbalances, the research further sought to evaluate policies and initiatives and strategies (at both community and national level) aimed at addressing the problem.”

What emerged as the ultimate result of this study, according to Notius, is the fact that, “small scale farmers are yet to fully utilise their land, owing to a number of challenges that includes limited access to low-cost finance and appropriate technology, heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture in the face of climate change, inheritance-related feuds and ownership wrangles. The lack of agricultural support systems and infrastructure has further compounded the farmers’ unenviable position.”

Notius admits that, “some of the recommendations are yet to be implemented.” This study, meanwhile, advocates that the agricultural support systems be reorganised; the reliance to rain-fed agriculture be shifted to irrigation; and supports the “indigenous crops and indigenous knowledge systems while promoting environmentally responsible agricultural practices.”

These outcomes hold value in that they are not purely academic but can rather be applied to a broader spectrum including one’s day-to-day life.

The rare ability to distil complex farming conundrums into their essence and then articulate solutions and recommendations thereof makes Mr Notius Tarisai a remarkable man. Allied to this ability is his marksman-like attention to detail, as seen in his dissertation.

We celebrate our remarkable alumnus and look forward to staying connected and co-creating in his future endeavours and studies.