Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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SMEs move into agric value addition

SMEs move into agric value addition

By Fortious Nhambura

Zimbabwe’s revolutionary land reforms have seen an increase in the participation of small and medium-sized companies in value addition and manufacturing.

This has also seen the widening of the economic base and increasing participation of Zimbabwe’s indigenous companies in the agro processing, once a preserve of large white-owned enterprises.

The Harare Agricultural Show that ended last weekend clearly showed how small and medium-sized black concerns based in the countryside are staking a bigger claim in the national economy.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Agriculture Show Society chairman Mr Eben Makonese said enterprises involved in irrigation and water development, farm mechanisation, appropriate technologies and seed houses were on the rise.

“We want to recognise the contribution of the SMEs particularly in the agriculture sector in the revival and transformation of the show.

“The majority of the 700 companies exhibiting at the show are either small or medium scale,” he said.

Even large companies said the land reforms had resulted in a surge in the demand of products like seed, fertilizers and machinery.

An official with Hastt Private Limited said, “The improving economic climate coupled with the emerging indigenous farmer has seen increase demand of our products.

“These range from ox to tractor-drawn implements that include ploughs, harrows, carts, water bowsers and their accessories.

“We are now working to improve our market share and ensure that were are not left behind.

“Our engineers are working hard on improving efficiency of our products so that they suit the emerging commercial farmer.”

Irrigation engineering firms say they have registered an increase in business due to the land reform programme.

“We are now concentrating on manufacturing irrigation equipment and machinery that is more suitable for small-scale farming,” an official with Natafarm Irrigation Private Limited said.

A manger with equipment manufacturing firm Ag Venture said demand for knapsacks and boom sprayers had risen in recent years.

“We thank the emergence of the new farmer as that has seen increased demand for our products,” he said.

Daisy Engineering (Pvt) Ltd managing director Mr Ron Christian said his company had started developing and testing light equipment for use in fertilizer and chemical application and livestock spraying.

The company has a walkabout sprayer for fertilizers and chemicals and can be moved between plant rows.

Mr Christian said his company was supplying farmer representative bodies and smallholders and intends to increase output to match demand.

The Rural Electrification Agency has unveiled an Electricity End Use Infrastructure Development project to empower local communities.

The programme is specifically targeted at communal areas, A1 and A2 resettlement schemes, where people are beginning to venture into small businesses.

REA spokesman Mr Johannes Nyamayedenga said beneficiaries should venture into any business that involves the use of electricity.

“We are assisting people in communal areas to venture into small projects which involve the use of electric machinery such as grinding mills, oil pressing machines and irrigation equipment.

“Demand has surged incredibly over the years, with the agency electrifying 60 out of 100 project approved.

“This was after receiving about 500 applications, mostly from resettled farmers,” he said.

Under the electrification programme, beneficiaries are provided with power and machinery and then pay back the REA over 24 months.

Among the beneficiaries are Zvavahera Irrigation Scheme in Gutu.

A ZFC spokesperson said business had been good since the inception of land reforms as demand for fertilizers for maize, cotton, wheat and tobacco had been increasing yearly.


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