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Diaspora Matters

She makes money from dried fruits and vegetables

dried

She is the winner of the Econet Entrepreneur Challenge that saw millions from across the continent participating in the challenge with only 2 winners emerging. Her name is Blessing Machiya Shumbakadzi.

Our team met her some time back when we participated at a business seminar at a local church based in Chitungwiza. We were struck by her professionalism and presentation on branding and marketing. This was before the Econet Challenge and little did we know she was on her way to winning one of the greatest prize monies for entrepreneurs on the continent.

So how do you benefit from agriculture? According to the value chain, some provide inputs such as fertilisers, seeds and others. Some are involved in the production side of farming such as tobacco farming and poultry, some are in distribution and marketing such as transporters of farm produce or tobacco merchants, abattoirs and butcheries.

Agriculture is a big tent which fits a lot of people. Even those invisible on the field such as insurance companies also benefit from the sector. One innovative Zimbabwean is making money through the processing and distribution of dried fruits and veges. An innovative concept that caught the eye of Dr Strive Masiyiwa. The Bulawayo based lady agreed on a short interview and answered the following questions.

What is the name of your business?

Business Name: Shumbakadzi Investments Pvt Ltd. Located in Byo ( with plans to expand to major agricultural areas soon)

Current priorities

Our major focus is on finding ways to work with small scale farmers to alleviate post harvest losses by value addition to their produce!

Are you registered?

We are a registered company since November 2017 and registration makes it easy to work with major companies.

Your view on government support for entrepreneurs

Our aim is to open export markets for locally grown produce but our growth is being hampered by lack of capital to expand the business to its fullest capacity. If government was more supportive of companies with export potential foreign currency reserves would start building up in this country.

Advice to young entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs should know that starting a legitimate business is not an overnight thing and sometimes you will face major setbacks but the important thing is to have a vision of where you want to take your business and keep working on it until you get there! There comes a time in every business where you now need to grow your brand and you find that you cant do this alone and so its important to set up business networks with people whose services can assist you to grow your business.  

Your views on digital marketing

Digital marketing is now the biggest way to attract customers and is very crucial in the development of your product and growth of customer base. Every entrepreneur needs to be  able to understand the importance of digital marketing and how to drive traffic to your product! Personally I’m still working on my understanding of digital marketing.

We will have a full length interview with her when she comes to Harare at the end of April. So to first time farmers, the agriculture sector is one big tent and look closely at the value chain for opportunities. The dried fruits and vegetables is one huge untapped avenue and helps to assist farmers who are throwing their crops away when they fail to sell them.

With transport costs on the increase, one great opportunity for entrepreneurs is to visit areas such as Mutoko, Honde Valley and Rusape and buying agricultural produce for processing and selling locally and abroad. One key lesson we learnt from Shumbakadzi is branding and access to markets is key in the agro-processing industry.

Anyone can farm and this is an over populated sector-the major challenge is branding and markets and if you can crack the code then you have unlimited business on your hands.

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