BY SHARON SIBINDI
ABOUT 512 budding farmers from seven districts in the country will benefit from a financial and capacity-building package from local non-governmental organisation, Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, which assists farmers.
Farmers at Rujeko garden, Masasa ward 17 in Chikomba district, Mashonaland East province, have embraced the scheme being spearheaded by Market Linkages Project (MLP) and assisted by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe. They said that it will enable them to access markets and finance.
The project will be implemented in seven districts which include Bulilima and Gwanda in Matabeleland South Province, Lupane and Nkayi in Matabeleland North province, Chirumanzu and Shurugwi in Midlands province and Chikomba district in Mashonaland East province.
The programme started in June 2019 is set to end in May 2022.
Of the 512 entrepreneurs that are set to benefit from the scheme, 60% are youths, and 40% are adults.
“We appreciate this project. However, we have a huge challenge when it comes to linkages to market our produce when it is ready,” said one of the beneficiaries Rufaro Zimbago.
“Hand in Hand Zimbabwe came to our rescue and capacitated us with knowledge,” she said.
Zimbago said Chikomba area normally receives low rainfall, a situation which has affected farmers who often experience water challenges.
“We had serious water challenges which made us stop growing certain crops like butternuts, okra, and tomatoes. Farmers ended up getting demotivated by the water challenges.
“However, with the assistance of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, we have managed to install water taps which will allow us to expand our produce so that we can take it to the market. We will also be able to expand our gardens,” she said.
Hand in Hand Zimbabwe chief executive Felix Tete said: “Farmers like it and our organisation offers them training. We also got a donor that assists us to support the project with material resources. The programme is doing well.”
To date, the organisation has installed at least nine solar-powered boreholes and supplied building material for eight blair toilets, a development which will go a long way in providing water and sanitation for over
9 000 community members.