Value addition key to small grains uptake internationally -Tagwirei


MASVINGO – Former Ministry of Health and Child Care, Food and Nutrition head, Julia Tagwirei has bemoaned the lack of proper, marketing, labelling and value addition on nutritious indigenous small grains adding that Zimbabwe was shortchanging itself economically.

Tagwirei was speaking at a Seed and Food festival that was hosted by Pelum Zimbabwe in Harare recently.

“Zimbabwe needs to upgrade and do better in adding value on all the indigenous small grains that we have so that as a country we do not lose the ownership of our produces.

“As a nutritionist, I believe that it is good to do profiling and share the composition of nutrients of the different indigenous crops we have for easier marketing and exporting so that the health benefits of the commodities are well known internationally,” said Tagwirei.

 Ambassador Mary Mubi, Commissioner General for the Dubai Expo reckoned that it was difficult to convince foreigners through word of mouth that mutsine/blackjack or mhunga/finger millet is very nutritious without the components labelled so that they are convinced.

“It has been very difficult for us to sell our nutritious indigenous food products during the yearly Dubai Expo because it’s not all that easy to convince a buyer with word of mouth, people like reading for themselves so there is a need for good packaging and labelling for easier marketing purposes,” said Mubi.

Mubi added that good packaging will encourage the consumption of these indigenous foods, especially for the young children who are being brought up eating refined foods.

Zimsoff cluster coordinator for Masvingo and Midlands provinces Oliat Mavuramba mentioned that farmers would like to add value to their produce but there is still a huge gap between universities that do the research and the farmers.

“There is still a huge gap between farmers and universities that do the research. The universities are supposed to come to the farmers directly to conduct their research so that they get the composition of nutrients in the crops,” said Mavuramba.

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