The news of the chicken crossing the road (may not) have been exaggerated


By Marco Machona


You know I never knew, or got to fully understand why the chicken crossed the road. There are billions of chickens in the world today, and only they will tell you the answer.

Infact, which started, the egg or the chicken?  What I know is that an egg eaten is one day less to the doctor.

According to PhilosophyNow.Org: Here is what the scholars said, to the chicken question:

Albert Einstein Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle To actualise its potential.

Carl Jung The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Charles Darwin It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Karl Marx It was a historical inevitability.

The story of the chicken and egg is so synonymous to Zimbabwean business politics today, that we have passed the mere understanding of how we got here, with all our challenges. (See sequence of pictures below)

Which came first, Zimbabwe’s problems, or Zimbabwe’s challenges? Such is the importance of chickens in our lives.

Daily I look after our political party, The African Democrats (TAD), and everything that comes with it. As a businessman, and academic, I am also the founding member of the Black Farmers Forum in the Vaal.

In between I make time for gruelling schedules. Conferences, presentations, media appearances, import and export, food security, international trade, and (you guessed it) running a chicken business.

Angry chicken(s)

The other day I arrived a few minutes off the pace – for chicken feeding time at the farm – and I found that the chickens were angry. Very angry.
As I rushed to clean the troughs, lug the feed, collect the eggs, turn on the water and dust the cages, the chicken followed me around, aggressively.
Then it happened. Bite, on the gumboots. Then another, and before I knew it, it was a total onslaught. Pecks, scratches, flapping, and angry flying chicken(s).
I retreated. Composed myself, went back in, and told them. “OK chickens, no need to fight. I’m here to look after you, not fight. Here is your water, and here is your chicken feed. Peace.”
In the Black Farmers Forum, we talk and laugh about such things and more. Working and mentoring fellow young farmers has come as a blessing to me personally, and presented an opportunity to address food security within SADC as a block.
I have come to appreciate the various players in both the agricultural and food industries.
In various meetings, I have always contemplated how SA farmers can team up with farmers in Zimbabwe to address food security.

Food security

Addressing food security as a block presents an opportunity to share (not only) food, but also sharing resources, expertise and wisdom.
I am a politician. I am also an agricultural economist who understands that land alone is just one of the factors of food production. Not withstanding that land is also a contentious issue, and context in any discussion on land – comes first.
In Zimbabwe, we have land but no food.
This is evidence that apart from resolving land, one must discuss other factors like labour, capital, technology, expertise, knowledge, passion and many other factors of diminishing importance, including raw politics, history, and geography and spartial models.
To serve a plate of sadza and chicken – these factors of production are at play. Competing, supplementing and complimenting each other in varied proportions.
As the Southern African Development Community, we can address food security as a block and conclusive research is that black Zimbabwean farmers have done a lot – much of it unrecorded – on the ground in South Africa, in the SA capital, and technology, and in making the region food secure.

Breadbasket of Africa

Then other day I followed discussions on Zimbabwe Digital News. The readers queried where the phrase “Zim was a breadbasket came from, or what happened after Zimbabwe was no longer a bread basket…”
For decades, we have seen Zimbabwe losing its food basket glory.
Not that the size of the physical land has diminished. But Zimbabwe’s agriculture has just been neglected, and with it went down the manufacturing industry, and poverty levels are at an all time high.
Other farms have completely vanished. The difference with South Africa is that government here has channelled resources to young black farmers, many in the previously disadvantaged, and emerging learners.
Land has been made available. In many instances, skills are in short supply, and that is where partnerships come in, with local communities.
To address the differences and disparities in food production amongst SADC countries, emphasis should be on sharing expertise, and exchange of farming skills.
There is a Zim/SA government-to-government expert processing zone on the Musina corridor, but how many of of our black people are making use of these facilities?
We can’t talk of food security without addressing storage facilities and export processing zones between and amongst SADC countries are the first port of call.

Black Farmers Forum

These are physical facilities to store grain. A food secure community can measure its food capacity, and one cannot address food security if you do not know how much grain is in the silo.
Our plans are at an advanced stage to set up the silos, and it is my long term dream to erect silos first at my farm, and across the region to address logistics in movement of grain and food.
The black farmers forum, though in its infancy, is capable of leading the way in bringing together farmers who transcend boarders with the same purpose, to feed and assist the region to achieve food security.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Maybe it was going to lay an egg. Maybe it was looking for grain that fell by the roadside.
Or just homecoming? Infact how about we ask the chicken(s)?
If they can bite me like that I’m sure that they were communicating the answer. I have no doubt chickens can also understand that feeding them is like feeding region. Afterall, if you can’t raise chicken, if you can’t run a nation.

To complete the philosophy:

Pyrrho the Skeptic What road?

Ralph Waldo Emerson It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.

Mark Twain The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.


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The road

The chicken

The crossing, in sequence. 


ZDG Premier Milling


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