Our July 2018 newsletter is out and you can download your copy on this site. The newsletter is targeted at small business owners in Southern Africa and is distributed to more than 10.000 subscribers.
272 total views, no views today
One farming area that is less populated is mushroom farming especially oyster mushroom. The demand for mushroom is at an all time high with most retail shops running out of the agricultural produce. Interested in giving it a try? Then research more about it especially how to grow it and accessing markets.
Below we feature an article from one of Zimbabwe’s leading agriculture experts, Mr Philemon Buruzi.
Growing Oyster Mushrooms
Despite the fact that oyster mushrooms are relatively new on the Zimbabwean food market, they are fast becoming a favourite of many customers countrywide. Oyster mushroom cultivation is the simplest and least cost when compared to other types of mushrooms. This is so because oyster requires no special inputs but rather can be grown using locally available materials and even makes use of agricultural waste. The only requirement that a prospective mushroom grower needs to outsource apart from the mushroom spawn is know how and that is what I endeavour to provide by putting together this article.
Terms used in mushroom growing which might be new to the uninitiated are given below;
Spawn – this is the mushroom ‘seeds’,
Spawning – refers to the process of ‘planting’ the mushroom,
Substrate – is the agricultural waste on which the mushroom grows e.g wheat straw,
Fruiting – formation of the mushrooms under specific house conditions.
Required Facilities and Equipment
Fruiting house, spawning house, spawn, thermometer, hygrometer, water sprayer, buckets, plastic bags, sterilising drum, string
Spawn and Substrates
Spawn is purchased from spawn laboratories. Substrates can be any of the following materials-sawdust from deciduous trees, banana leaves, cotton waste, milled maize cobs, chopped rice or wheat straw, chopped maize stalks. Ensure that the substrate has high nutrient content, good water-holding capacity and is well aerated. To control acidity, add 2% lime by weight and 20% wheat bran to improve quality.
After spawning, substrate bags are kept in this room for development of the mycelium. This room should provide dark conditions and a temperature of around 240C. Alternative the same mushroom house can be used provided it can be made dark as required during incubation.
This is the room in which the mushroom grows. The size of this room depends on the scale that the grower wants to operate at. The walls of the room can be made of any material be it bricks, wood, thatch or even pole and dagga. It is recommended to line the walls with plastic sheeting in order to relative manage humidity better. Ventilation should be adequate, hence air vents or windows need be in place. The room should have enough light as and when needed. Wooden shelves or racks should be fitted to handle spawned substrate bags. The house should provide for temperature maintenance between 180C-250 C and humidity of 80-90%.
How to do it
Below is a four stage process of growing oyster mushroom presented in a step by step format;
Step One – Substrate preparation
Chopped or shredded substrate is soaked in water overnight. After 24 hours excess water is drained off and lime is added. Transfer the mixture into the sterilising drum and subsequently filled with hot water. The drum is allowed to boil for 60 minutes before transferring the substrate onto a plastic sheet to cool off to between 38-400C.
Step Two- Spawning
Pack the substrate into transparent plastic bags adding the spawn even layer upon layer. Care should be taken not to pack the substrate too tightly or too loosely. Also ensure that this stage takes place under hygienic conditions as diseases tend to enter at this phase. Tie the open end of the plastic bag immediately after filling.
Step Three- Incubation
Place the spawned bags in dark room at 240C or simply cover the bags with black plastic sheets. Incubation lasts between 14-40 days and full colonisation is evidenced by white mycelium covering the whole bag.
Step Four- Fruiting
Initiate the formation of the mushroom bodies by exposing the bags to light. Once light hits the bags fruiting commences. After 24 hrs make long cuts at the top and bottom of the bags. Mushrooms will start to form in 4 days. Temperature should be maintained between 20-280C whilst humidity is between 80-95%.
Mushroom are ready to be plucked 4 days after the emergence of the fruiting body. handle by the stalk twist gently and pull out. Harvesting is best done in the cooler hours of the day. Immediately refrigerate without freezing to preserve freshness. Make more long cuts around the centre of the bag for more mushrooms to emerge. Continue to harvest till the substrate turns colourless and of a soft feel. In general terms 10kg of substrate should give you a yield of between 10kg-20kg of mushrooms.
For all questions and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.
209 total views, no views today
The number one rule of entrepreneurship is always be up to date with what others entrepreneurs are up to. There are few platforms where entrepreneurs can access information for free. So download our monthly entrepreneurship newsletter for your reading pleasure. We hope you will be inspired.
346 total views, no views today
Another shocking result, Spain is out of the 2018 world cup qualifiers. Really shocking? Perhaps not, we have seen powerhouses such as Germany, Portugal and Argentina packing their bags and heading straight home from Russia. For Russia, however this is history in the making as they are advancing to the quarterfinals of the world cup for the first time.
What entrepreneurship lessons can we learn from this?
Home Support and Confidence: There is no substitute for home support in sport and entrepreneurship. If the match bad been played away from Russia, chances are high they would have been eliminated from the competition. Do you have an entrepreneur at home, in your street, at your workplace or at your church? Support, encourage, do all you can to make them win the world cup.
Recover: Russia had an own goal earlier during the match-this is very common in sport that sometimes in doing your best, you can make mistakes. Do not despair, learn from the mistakes-do not repeat them and continue pushing forward. Never give Up!
Confidence: There are many ‘Spanish hurdles’ in business, the big boys enjoying all the market share, the access to capital and market challenges, the lack of office space or premises. The competitors stealing your business secrets, the new entrants with big buying power. Your response? Do not be intimidated…you too can overcome the challenges and qualify for the quarterfinals. Keep pushing, keep your head up. If Russia can do it?
Team work: Lets admit, Russia does not meet the class of the Spaniards. The gulf in class can be equated for the distance between Beatrice Road and Seke Rd. If you have ever travelled along the Masotcha Road, you know what Iam talking about. Where Russia lacked in terms of class or quality..they compensated in terms of team work. In business, are you operating as a lone ranger? Do you buy alone? Are you part of a business association? Then you are going to lose out from rivals in the game….find trusted business people, pool resources and match the Spains in your industry.
Maintain Competitive Advantage: I only watched the dying minutes of the match, did see Russia defending heavily and frustrating Spain and relying on counter attacks. I thought that was a mistake because I had watched my favourite African teams losing in dying minutes because of desperate defending and making mistakes. How about Russia? They were playing for the penalties, wanted to drag the match and drive it towards their strength…penalties! At the end of the match, I saw Russian fans celebrating and as they say…the rest is history! In business wait for your opportune moment, be prepared for the right time and grab opportunities. Are you aware some have solid business plans or startup plans just waiting for the elections to be certified free and fair and grab all the opportunities before others come? Yes some have made investment decisions, they have provisional hiring plans, have identified premises and are slowly counting the days and heading for the penalty shoot outs. Like Russians, they know their strengths and will be merciless during the penult shoot outs and proceed to the quarter finals.
There are more lessons learnt from this event that is sure gonna see Russians celebrating for the whole week. Everything went according to the script…they deserve the victory!
245 total views, no views today
Can Hararians come together and form a successful company? With so much individualistic tendencies around town where its each man for himself…can people meet online and form a company? Well the answer to this is yes its possible!
So 3 months ago, a group of online members of the Zim Business Ideas and Network met and formed a company called Rabbits Farmers International with the objective of making money from rabbit farming which is a field with few players. Everyone is into poultry and few are venturing into other fields such as rabbit farming.
Today the company directors had a great opportunity to visit a successful rabbit farmer, Mr Maketo based in Cranborne, Harare. Mr Maketo started rabbit farming in 2015 and he has never looked back. He built rabbit hatches at the back of his house and they accommodate up to 600 rabbits.
Is there a market for rabbits?
Here is the simple answer to this question….he is failing to satisfy demand. He has a contract to supply at least 35 rabbits per month. The rabbits should weigh a minimum of 2kgs and they sell for $6/kg meaning he has $420 of revenue per week and $1,680 per month. He sells the rabbits to 2 reliable customers.
The demand for rabbits is driven by the huge Chinese community in the capital and also health conscious residents who need meat that is less on cholesterol. He is afraid of advertising rabbits for sale because of fear of failure to deliver! He has previously sold to retail supermarkets but stopped when they started delaying payments to him. A lot of supermarkets in town need rabbit meat but one must have a registered company.
Costs of rearing rabbits
He recommends use of pellets which are sold for $28/50 kgs. He has however found an innovative way to cut on costs and now makes own pellets and this has resulted in him cutting his feed costs by 50%. He purchased a rabbit pellet making machine and uses soya beans, maize , wheat bran and a mixer and we saw the rabbit pellets being dried at his home. He also recommends farmers to make own rabbit cages rather than buying them from manufacturers.
The trick with making money with rabbits is to have hybrid rabbits and these are imported from South Africa. He initially started with local breeds but they took too long to mature and ate too much feed thereby cutting his profits. He purchased his breed from South Africa and he had them flown and he collected them from the airport. This was the best decision he ever did as the breed he got ensure that by 3 months, a rabbit will be fully grown and weighing at least 2kgs. Do not keep a rabbit beyond the 3 month period as returns on investment will start diminishing beyond this period. How about diseases? If you have received proper training about hygiene, feed and diseases. (We are going to provide detailed information on importation of rabbits to our subscribed members)
One of our rabbit directors based in Glen Norah witnessed a theft of 30 rabbits last week in his suburb. There is general high crime rates involving animals theft in the country involving poultry and other small animals. One must ensure that a rabbit project is done where they are resident and security should be tight –keep dogs, have a reliable employee if you can afford.
Rabbit farmers live in fear of not being able to meet demand, they do not experience the problems affecting most poultry farmers-that of oversupply! One can also make good monies from selling hybrid rabbits. If one has enough supply they can also produce rabbit sausages.
We will forever be grateful to Mr Maketo for allowing us access to his successful project , he was very generous with information and answered every question. This is uncommon in Harare where everyone is busy protecting information about how they are making money. He is a good hearted man and may the Almighty continue to bless him.
Hope you find this article helpful
Rabbit Farmers International |No 34 Quendon Road, Monavale Harare
Phone No +263339454|+263774081808
446 total views, no views today
What is the best food export from Zim? It has to be the Mazoe Crush! How about Malawi? It has to be Kilombero Rice. The scented and tasty rice from Malawi is probably the best rice on earth!The only problem with the rice is once you eat it then you will never like any other rice-it is addictive.
The challenge with Malawi Rice is that Malawians are not doing enough to promote their product and push it beyond the borders despite massive interest and potential. You can find a bus from Malawi to South Africa with between 200-300 kgs of rice and this is a tiny fraction. The country needs to push tonnes of their precious commodity per month and realise great returns in foreign currency.
Our organisation has been pushing the brand and carrying out market surveys in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa and Zimbabwe and the response has been overwhelming. Many want the rice and they want it now…but the rice is not available due to logistics challenges. Two months ago we created an app group for Malawians interested in selling the rice and more than 50 responded. We have serious entrepreneurs interested in pushing volumes from Malawi provided there are people interested in it.
So are you interested in buying Malawi rice for consumption? Are you interested in being a Malawi Rice agent? If your answer is Yes then do send us an email on email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org or send an app on +263774081808.
116 total views, no views today
Imagine going to apply for a bank loan and the bank manager asks you where you would like to invest? And your answer is in your rural area? The bank manager scratches his head and and asks what sort of investment you would like to invest in and your answer is an entertainment centre where you intend to build a lodge for accommodation. Will you get the loan? Chances are 99.9% that your loan application will be turned down. After you have left, the bank manager will have a good laughter wondering why some clients come up with ridiculous loan applications!
This is the story of an insane investor in Musana Communal area located 70 km from the capital where the owner did the unthinkable…he build up a top class lodge that left most rural dwellers asking whether he still had his marbles in place! The owner who had worked for a a top class holiday resort in Victoria Falls decided to bring what he had learnt to his rural area upon retirement.
The reaction from rural folks? Insanity defined! How could a fully grown up man invest funds in a non commercial area? Building some unique buildings and setting up a an entertainment place for business? To make matters worse, his area was a bit far from the mainroad…so who was going to come and give him business?
With time word soon spread that there was a nice and quiet place where the architecture was unique…never before seen in the village. Everyone became curious and the issue of distance became a non issue as clients preferred the quiet environment and beautiful designs. Clients started streaming in from the nearby Nyava Growth Point and further afield such as the Bindura Town and Harare. Everyone visiting the Musana Communal Area wanted to have a view of the place and those who had questioned the logic of the idea became some of the fervent supporters.
Who says your rural home has no value? With tourists arrivals on the upward trajectory, this place located 70 kilometres from Harare is likely to also be a hit with foreign tourists interested in experiencing rural life in Zimbabwe. With Zimbabwe being open for business, is your rural homestead open for business too?
538 total views, no views today
Thinking of relocating back home in the nearby future? Then the vehicle industry is one of the cash cows you should not be left out of.
Write down the following figures
1.The current vehicle population is estimated at 1.2 million.
2.Harare has more than 700.000 vehicles.
3.Most of the vehicles are found in high and medium density suburbs.
Most medium density and high density areas do not have vehicle repairs and maintenance services. We only have a few tyre changers and not tyre sellers, a few service stations and car washes.
Study the car repairs and maintenance business and bring it closer home. The last time ZBIN visited Mutoko, we did not find a place to do wheel alignment. So you can convert your high density home to commercial purposes if it is located along busy high roads and set up a car service centre pa open space. Think of the Machipisa Rd…Kuwadzana Ext main road….Mufakose or Glenview. Lastly study the second vehicle value chain and exploit opportunities such as the supply of car parts and accessories. The country currently produces 18.000 batteries but national demand per month is 25.000…who is filling up the gap?
335 total views, no views today
The transport business is a highly competitive field where you find a lot of operators fighting for passengers. Our business forum has been to Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Lesotho and South Africa where we found out common traits that can be used by many entrepreneurs. Of course the industry is well known for breaking road rules and causing all sorts of evil on our roads but behind the controversy, there are some good points to learn from the industry.
So there you are, add or subtract from the list. We have a good case study of organised black owned business model. What is now required is to refine this model and cascade it across all economic sectors. You should be able to mobilise resources, form businesses and compete at the same time. The Somali owned spaza shops use the same model. Pool resources and enjoy economies of scale -buy goods and share and then operate from the same street fighting for the same clients.
278 total views, no views today
In Middle East the price of goat meat is going for $20/kg. In Angola there is high demand but few suppliers. The same applies to the rest of Southern Africa and in Zimbabwe the price of goat meat is $3/kg. So do you just raise normal goats or you need to get hybrid goats for success?
We cover below an article by one of the leading journalists from Zimbabwe, Hopewell Chin’ono, he is running one of the best goat farming projects in the country.
I run a goat breeding operation so I am going to talk about what I really know about and understand. One of the most effective ways of empowering the rural folk is to upgrade their goat breed.
A Boer goat like the one below weighs 120kilograms live weight.The local Mashona goats weigh an average of 20 kilograms.When you cross a Mashona female goat and a Boer male, the product born out of the crossbreeding exercise will weigh around 60 kilograms. So there is a weight gain of 40 kilograms.
If you cross the “crossbreed” goat and a Boer male, you will end up with a goat weighing 80 kilograms.If the government and the opposition really want to empower the rural folk, they could invest in one male goat for every Ward.A male goat can service 50 female goats inside 15 days.
So the national breed will be enhanced in terms of quality and the numbers increased too.Goat meat is sold at $3 per kilogram at wholesale level so it means that these rural folk can earn $180 from selling a crossbreed to butcheries as opposed to $60 if they had killed a Mashona goat.I sell my male boer goats for $500 each when they are 6 months old and a $1000 when they are 18 months old.
The government of the day can start a program and import the breeding stock from South African where I bought my initial breeding stock at $200 per female goat and $500 each for the male goats which were 20 months old.
The cost of Boer goats in Zimbabwe is very high because of the laws of supply and demand.As we speak, I am holding Money laid for goats that will be born next year.
That is how bad the shortage is and with a proper government program, the rural folk can join in cutting the cake too and enhance their lives.
Big commercial famers drive to Chin’ono village to buy these Boer goats for their large-scale farms. If I had a big property I could have expanded but at the moment I am only doing it at my ancestral home.
The Angolan Ambassador Pedro Hendrick Vaal Neto came to my village to look at the project and talk about exports.
It broke my heart when he said that he hope my government would give me land to expand the project. We could export these goats and earn foreign exchange. So there is a lot we can do!
1,092 total views, no views today