On International Women’s Day let’s celebrate Christine from Rarecray Farms

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A passion for excellence in livestock breeding

In the realm of agriculture, tales of perseverance and passion often fuel the journey of remarkable individuals. Meet Rarecray Farms’ Christine Nyatsambo Zimbango, a trailblazing female livestock farmer whose story transcends boundaries and ignites a flame of inspiration through her dedication and innovative practices. Join us as we delve into Christine’s transformative journey and learn some valuable lessons this dynamic individual has learnt in her own relatively short yet ever-evolving farming journey.

An introduction to Christine and Rarecray Farms

Rarecray Farms is a family farm, based in Chivhu, Lancashire, Zimbabwe. Christine says that whilst they established themselves, in 2018 as livestock farmers and breeders of quality animals, ranging from cattle to sheep, goats and pigs, they have also recently expanded their operations portfolio to include the running of a guest lodge.

Going back to the core feature of their farming operations, Rarecray Farms’ current mission is to provide breeding livestock with superior genetics and high-quality meat produce for local markets, with a high economic and social impact on their local communities.

“While we had been farming passively our journey started in earnest in 2018, when we invested in our first stud bull and Brahman cattle. This decision changed our operations and since then, we have witnessed a transformation in our breeding stock,” Rarecray’s Christine says. Their core stud cattle herd is made up of a stud bull and six stud cows with genetics sourced from Little Beatrice Brahmans and Francois Brahmans. Their commercial cattle herd size stands at 70 head.

When it comes to small livestock, Rarecray Farms rears both sheep and goats. “In 2019, we ventured into Dorper sheep farming and we intensified our goat operations by introducing Boer and Red Kalahari genetics. We have 65 goats and 30 head of sheep.”

“Our Kalahari Red buck goat comes from Zviko Farms and our Boer genetics were imported from South Africa (but these have never been registered). We cross these genetics with our local indigenous breeds to get hybrid vigour.”

Ever on the search to diversify their income streams, Rarecray Farms, in 2022, introduced aquaculture through two fishponds. In 2023, they diversified into pig farming, maintaining their commitment to producing the highest-quality animals.

Livestock health and care regime

Christine says for cattle, sheep and goats feed, they rely mostly on pastures, with ad hoc supplementary feed, salt blocks and mineral blocks in winter, when grazing is limited. Their bulls are supplemented with feed all year round to ensure they maintain a good body condition - and can fulfil their primary function!

“We have a silage maker from Kurima which we use to make silage which is stored for the dry season. We have a grinding mill that allows us to process our own feeds as well.”

“We have been improving our paddocks by planting pastures, but this is an ongoing effort.”

Their indigenous Mashona goat breed thrives in the farm environment, relying on browsing and partial grazing for sustenance. “However, our hybrid breeds require supplementary feed. To address this, we've strategically planted more than 300 acacia thorn trees, utilising seeds from fallen tree pods and actual tree pods, not purchased trees or seeds. Since initiating this in 2023, we've collected over 6,000 seeds. Our vision is to extend this initiative by planting over 5,000 trees in our paddocks to benefit both livestock and game.”

Lessons learnt

  • Water is everything: El Niño has reminded us of the significance of water as without it no farming is possible. We need to harness every drop efficiently.
  • Approach farming with a business mindset: Farming is a business that requires meticulous attention to costs and inputs for a positive impact on the bottom line.
  • Employee Training: Properly trained employees are pivotal for the sustainability and profitability of farming operations. There is no shortcut to this, you need a team that knows and understands the operations and is continuously learning.
  • Genetics matter: Recognizing the critical role of genetics is essential for producing high-quality animals that not only meet market needs but are also financially viable.
  • Agronomic Practices: Successful farming revolves around adhering to Good Agronomic Practices, with no room for shortcuts. Things like cattle dipping, vaccinations and record keeping are critical in any farming operation.
  • Value Chain Ownership: Owning the entire value chain is key to a sustainable operation. Shifting from selling livestock to abattoirs to direct sales to consumers has proven to be beneficial to us and it has allowed us to diversify our offerings. We sell our meat to abattoirs, family and friends and we have also found social media to be a powerful sales tool.



Christine’s narrative as a relatively new livestock farmer symbolises the essence of determination and empowerment within the farming industry. Her unwavering commitment to innovation and sustainability has not only shaped her farm but has also resonated with a wider audience, sparking hope and encouragement among aspiring farmers. Let her inspiring story be a source of motivation for all, encouraging individuals to embrace challenges, break barriers, and cultivate their farming dreams with fervour and zeal.


  1. Fadzy on March 8, 2024 at 8:57 pm

    Awesome job Christine! We learnt together in high school, was a great joy seeing this.

  2. Nyasha Nanterra Farm on March 9, 2024 at 4:58 am

    This is impressive Ray and Cris. Well done May the good Lord continue to bless the works of your hands.

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