Zimbabwean women step up to food security, sustainable farming challenge

Zimbabwe, April 2013 - Food production and rural development in regions with significant food security inadequacies require appropriate know-how and improved technologies which promote efficient local production methods and facilitate transfer of technology.  Full benefit from these technologies will require training and skill development for local human resources.

This challenge is what Zimbabwean women in rural communities recently took up when they joined comprehensive and intensive agribusiness programme which is widely promoted throughout the countryside of Zimbabwe.

TIPS – Zimbabwe together with the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Center of Zimbabwe have launched an agribusiness programme designed to develop the skills of women who are engaged in small-scale agriculture.  The programme consists of various training courses on all aspects of agribusiness, from starting, nurturing up to running agribusiness project that is focused on food production, processing and packaging.  The courses are product-focused such that women with particular interest in growing agricultural produce or raising livestock and poultry can pursue agribusiness through the entire production value chain, to generate improved income.

Two hundred women have already completed agribusiness courses, particularly on potato production, broiler management, livestock raising and horticulture.  More training courses are lined up to be offered to all interested women in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is predominantly an agriculture economy. Many Zimbabweans have recently intensified their efforts to move agricultural production to commercial level, with the introduction of modern know-how, particularly post-harvest facilities and efficient processing technologies.  As population grows, farming becomes more complex and greater crop yields are required to meet the food requirements of more people.

The training courses conducted by TIPS-Zimbabwe and SIRDC meet standards of environmentally-sound farming practices.  The purpose for the emphasis on caring for the environment is to ensure that the natural resource base is maintained for food production for future generations of Zimbabweans.

TIPS-Zimbabwe has developed and produced various product-focused training manuals, do-it-yourself kits that are available in hard copies and CDs (soft copies).  To support those who have already completed training courses, TIPS-Zimbabwe also developed a database of sources of know-how and resource persons, including the names and lines of business of participants who have successfully launched their agribusiness projects.