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Technoserve Zim transforms Shurugwi villagers

MARTIN MAWAYA

SHURUGWI-A global non-governmental organisation, Technoserve Zimbabwe has brought positive change to livelihoods of the rural communities in Shurugwi District by accelerating agricultural value chains program thereby guaranteeing food security for them.

The positive development was initiated under the Takura Project whose objective is to improve the lives of the marginalized community.

Through this impactful scheme, Technoserve Zimbabwe has mainstreamed regenerative agriculture practices as well as local food systems by innovating smart villages.

The agricultural development program is mainly targeting horticulture and livestock producers, and strongly biased towards export.

This is in line with the government’s Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, positioned to boost agricultural production in line with Vision 2030.

Pursuant to government vision, Technoserve Zimbabwe rallied smallholder farmers from five irrigation schemes namely Gonye, Taguta, Shungudzevhu, Chuni and Zananda to adopt regenerative agriculture in an effort to fight poverty and help them to be self reliant.

Moreover, the Anglo American Unki Mine poured US$350 000 for the Takura Horticulture project, in a deliberate effort to empower villagers and increase agriculture productivity with more advanced farming methods.

Furthermore, Technoserve Zimbabwe in partnership with Unki recently completed the construction of a 15ha state-of-the-art fresh produce packhouse at villages near Chachacha Business Centre.

The packhouse meets international standards and is the first of its kind in the Midlands Province, located in remote areas.

The packhouse has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes, the pack shed is expected to create employment for more than 200 people.

In addition, “the packhouse will be the link between farmers and the market, offers agronomic support and training to famers as well as aggregates, processes produce in conformity with the market requirements”.

Targeting the international market for the produce, the Takura project will maximize profits and transform rural community lives through farming.

Above that, communal farmers have also acquired International Good Agricultural Practices (GPA) certification to allow them to stock their produce in large quantities before exporting them to the global markets.

According to Technoserve regional director, Pamela Chitenhe, the Takura initiative is life-changing of once marginalized rural communities.

“With the objective of commercializing communal farming, ending poverty and malnutrition”.

“So far more than 692 independent small holder farmers who were organised into irrigation schemes are benefiting from the project,” said Chitenhe.

She also said that 2186 villagers are directly benefiting from the project.

She added that the organization’s main thrust is “to strengthen, building capacities of farmers and uplift the marginalized communities through income generating projects”.

One of the project beneficiaries, Leocardia Sihlahla told The Midweek Watch that the agricultural venture has helped villagers to maintain food security at household level and boosts their incomes through selling their produce locally and outside the country.

She said her goals were achieved through horticulture farming as she can now have access to finance and credit.

“We are now economically empowered as we can now fend and support our families, send our children to study at good schools as well as proving that as rural communities we are capable of running sustainable life changing projects,” she said.

Sihlahla, who grows peas and is into poultry farming as well added that the project is a life time investment, as some villagers are now able to breed cattle after they had gone through intensive training by Technoserve Zimbabwe.

 Matilda Tsikira commended the partnership between Unki, Technoserve and small holder farmers

“I’m very grateful to Unki mines and Technoserve for this good project, it really changed our lives, now I’m able to do my budget and save money,” said Tsikira.

Technoserve Zimbabwe started the Takura project in 2019, and is set to spur uptake of some of the underutilized rural land and fostering sustainable farming.

Zimbabwe agricultural sector provides 70% of the population with income and accounts for 40% of exports, whereas the horticulture is among major export earners.

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