Over 30 groups of women farmers from Matabeleland’s rural areas last Thursday exhibited their agricultural wares at the Women Farmers Market at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) grounds.
The regional coordinator of the programme launched in South Africa in 2004, Thandiwe Henson, said the idea behind the project was to expose poor farmers to a wide market that is usually not available to them.
“In Zimbabwe, we know that women are the farmers but they don’t really get an opportunity. Instead of going for the big farmers we thought of targeting the women whom we know are producing.
“Marketing is a probleam to farmers that is why we have organised this exhibition. They usually market at village level but what they produce is far greater than the village market can consume,” she said.
The exhibition was organized by African Women’s Initiative in Developing Economies (AWIDE) and operates in Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana.
It was recently introduced to Zimbabwe.
“It was founded in 2004 by a group of women who are seasoned development practitioners in southern Africa and has resolved to remain a women-driven organisation by establishing a structure which fosters leadership capacity at all levels and ensures that organisational skills are as strong at the local level as they are at national level,” she said.
Henson said women have exhibited as groups because of the cost of stalls at the exhibition.
Henson said the women were drawn from areas such as Gwanda, Matopo, Kezi, Esiphezini and Ehlekwini Training Centre both in Umzingwane and from around Bulawayo.
“We hope that this offers the women a market. Their market is the general public, people who are buying for the house and people who want to make orders for resale. These women here are producers and can take orders. We are already planning the next exhibition for 29 January next year,” she said.