Every building has its purpose and the farmhouse is no exception, Therefore, the purpose for which the house is constructed should be the governing point in the determination of its position on the farm.
As Brand Influencer of the upcoming Construction Expo Zambia (ConExpo Zambia) to be held on 26th and 27th April 2023 at the Lusaka Showgrounds, I feel obliged to discuss this matter and to also let farmers know that the ConExpo is meant for their benefit as well. On farms, we construct houses for human occupation, barns for animals and even water reticulation systems for irrigation. It is therefore imperative for the farmer to be aware of the best and most economical construction practices and materials for such structures through platforms such as the ConExpo.
One thing every property developer tries to avoid when building is water that could potentially damage the structure or become a breeding ground for disease causing organisms. This means that the site chosen for construction at the farm should be dry, otherwise, water should be drained.
The character of the farm as envisioned by the owner should be taken into consideration as well bearing in mind the acceptable building standards. Most farmers rarely source for professionally done building designs because most do not require a building permit from the local authority on customary land, which is usually the case for most farms. Whether/ not one needs a building permit should not make them disregard the importance of engaging an Architect, Engineer or Urban and Regional Planner to help with planning and design of the farm. These professionals will help you design even the landscape of your farm so as to make it aesthetically appealing; you should be happy to be staying at the farm rather than seeing it only as a food or commodity manufacturing place.
Lately, Zambia has experienced extreme changes in climate as has been observed by all. You will agree with me that long ago we would have proper rains starting from late October every year but today is a different case. One of the major contributing factors to this change in climate is some environmentally unfriendly agricultural practices like Chitemene System (cutting and burning down of trees) still practiced to this very day especially in the Northern parts. With a professional’s guidance as a farmer, you will know which trees to keep and those suitable for planting near your buildings so as to keep your farm environmentally friendly yet with great appeal. If you do not have contacts of any such professional, I can assure you that plenty will be there at the ConExpo to give out their details to you. Your only job is showing up.
What construction materials, either determined out of choice or on the basis of financial resource should also be considered when putting up a farm house. This also boils down to the scenery you have envisioned for your farm. Do you want ultra-modern infrastructure or vintage? I know some of you must be amazed at the thought of having modern infrastructure at the farm. The farm should not be looked at as a place where one goes to settle on only when they retire and very aged. I remember a time when I toured some rural place a few years back and bumped into a young man who seemed like he chasing after goats. I was curious to know whether those were his goats and to my surprise the young man exclaimed, “I am too young to own goats, perhaps when I grow old is when I can start keeping goats”. This is rather the unfortunate notion most of us have about farming and I believe this is so because when we talk farming, we think of mud huts in jungles with monkeys, aweh mwebantu tuchinje (we need a mindset shift).
The same way you would call an Agronomist to help you determine the pH of your soil before cultivation is just how you as well need to know the suitability of the ground for construction of the type of infrastructure you want to avoid any accidents at the farm. Your farm should be a safe dwelling place for both humans and animals and even the plants. Take this as my official invitation to you for the ConExpo to be held at the Lusaka Showgrounds on the 26th and 27th of April 2023. Entry is free for all, unless you would like to exhibit and sell out your products and services by way of booking a booth at prices as indicated in the flyers below. Kindly visit www.conexpo.co.zm to register as an exhibitor. If you are coming as a visitor, there is no need for registration. I would be so glad to meet you there.
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