Tinga Mira Estate
Tinga Mira, one of Tanganda’s flourishing estates, is not only majestic and truly beautiful, but a hive of activity.
This estate, with altitudes ranging from 860m to 1050m above sea level, consists of sandy clay loams, sand clay and loam sand soils. The adjacent lands of Petrunella and Avontuur are incorporated and run under Tinga Mira. During peak season the mix of permanent, seasonal or contract workers can number up to 800.
Like other Tanganda estates Tinga Mira has until recently concentrated on tea since it was first planted back in 1996. The estate still has 350ha under tea, some clonal some seedling, but has now diversified adding a spring water bottling plant and Avocados to its portfolio.
Whilst several varieties of tea are grown PC108, PC105 and KC7 take up the largest hectarage. The factory runs only 2 lines with each capable of producing 400kg made tea per hour on average. The factory was recently revamped and is the most modern out of the four tea estates. During tea harvesting the factory works on a shift basis running 24 hours a day to keep up with production. Like the other three Tanganda tea producing estates Tinga Mira purchases tea from the neighbouring small scale farmers and provides them with technical assistance, advice, fertilisers etc.
Avocados, of the Hass variety, were planted in 2011 with already 383.3ha planted and possibly more to come. The first fly crop of Avocados is expected in April 2015 which is most exciting. A new Pack Shed will be constructed in time for the harvest and will not only handle Tinga Mira’s crop but that of a neighbouring sister estate, Ratelshoek.
One of Tanganda’s treasures is the purest, sweetest spring water you could imagine. Tinga Mira started a manual water plant in 2006 which grew rapidly until the new automatic bottling plant was installed in 2011. The new high quality machines have considerably increased production producing both 500ml and 2 Litre bottles. 5Litre bottles are produced manually . The plant though small in size is most impressive. The blower machine transforms (or blows up) the preforms into the related bottles which are then rinsed out in the rinsing machine. Next the bottles move down the conveyor line and are filled and capped. The full bottles travel past a sighter glass one by one for quality control purposes before being labelled and finally printed with the date of manufacture as well as the expiry date. The bottled water is then placed in cardboard trays and shrink wrapped ready for transport to Harare. All water passes through a rigorous filtration process before being bottled and a small laboratory conducts daily tests on the water to ensure the water is 100% pure. The branded Tinga Mira water is sold to all leading supermarkets throughout the country but unfortunately transport costs make export prohibitive at the present time.
Tinga Mira holds part of the Tanganda cattle herd being responsible for the young cows. The current herd at Tinga Mira numbers about 160. Once these cows reach suitable breeding weights they are sent for bulling and when pregnant they return to New Years Gift who handles the breeding herd. Another batch of heifers will be sent back to Tinga Mira and the cycle continues. The cattle play a role in reducing fire hazards grazing all non arable areas of the estate. Every year Maize and Rye grass are grown as supplementary feeding during the harsh winter months when grazing is limited in an effort to ensure cattle remain in superb condition throughout the year. This last year 34ha of Maize was sown along with 4ha Rye grass.
141 hectares of Gum plantations are established as a fuel resource for the tea factory. Natural forests or conservation areas take up a further 25ha which are protected from tree cutting, hunting or snaring of animals. In these areas monkeys, jackals, wild hares, guinea fowl etc can be found. Tinga Mira is very fortunate and indeed privileged to have a python corridor on the estate. Pythons are still regarded as Royal Game and Tinga Mira ensures that their pathway remains undisturbed.
A few of the most common trees found in the indigenous forests are Redwood, Custard Apple, Wild Fig, Cape Fig, Mukwa, Marula and Monkey Plum.
Water for irrigation is supplied via aquifers from the 1200 mega litre Tinga Mira dam. The dam receives its water from the Chipita and Mvurachena rivers and supplies all water for irrigation on the estate.
A small clinic run by a state registered nurse is available. This is primarily a maternity ward. Any other patients requiring admission are referred to Ratelshoek or Chipinge Hospital.
Another important aspect is of course child care. Two Tanganda run crèches are available for small children. Each crèche can accommodate up to 40 children. Government run Primary and Secondary Schools are present with the primary school capable of handling up to 800 children. The secondary school can seat up to 360 students taking them up to O Level standard. At the secondary school students can study computers, agriculture and building as well as the normal standard subjects.
A local drama club exists which puts on dramas for the local community and indeed sometimes travels round the district with educational performances. Social activities are taken seriously with a beer hall fully stocked for after hour’s entertainment and sporting events for the more energetic. Various teams, soccer, netball, volleyball, darts and tug-o-war have regular practices and play competitively on weekends with other Tanganda estates or social clubs within the district. Tanganda itself holds an annual gala at which Tinga Mira is always a force to be reckoned with. Teams compete for trophies and prize money and with all the spectators cheering on their relevant teams the gala becomes a suspense filled exciting day.
With everything going on at Tinga Mira it really is just like a little town all on its own.