Winners are given money and mentorship in their business plans. Speaking at the launch, Delta Corporation Ltd supply chain executive director Daud Taranhike, said their partnership with the agro-related business community spans over three decades of contract farming and producing cereal raw materials for brewing operations.
“We strongly feel this initiative will have a positive impact towards our national economy,” said Taranhike. “It is important to mention that Delta farming contract scheme has grown over the years to benefit over 200 commercial and small-scale farmers in the country.”
TechnoServe Zimbabwe was established and registered as a private voluntary organisation in 2011 under the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development.
It runs several programmes across the agricultural value chain, including the business plan competition, which has become an annual event. TechnoServe country director Margaret Rose, said the vision they shared with the private sector could be the engine of broad-based economic growth as new and creative ideas can be tried out and scaled up, to transform the face of agriculture.
“New models are required, which are both competitive and equitable, and who is better to come up with them than Zimbabwe’s own entrepreneurs and business people,” said Rose.
TechnoServe has since last year been working closely with the five winning business entities to make their ideas a reality. Speaking at the same function, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development, Sithembiso Nyoni, said the partnership with TechnoServe demonstrated government’s commitment to address the challenge of poverty through income generating projects.
“I am informed that TechnoServe has implemented business plan competitions in more than 15 countries, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue,” said Nyoni.
“Given this success, we are confident that our country can also benefit from TechnoServe’s support through this initiative and stimulate competition in the micro-business sector, leading to improved quality of products and greater innovation.”
Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is estimated at well above 85%.
Nyoni said last year’s five winners were currently working with 1 442 small-scale farmers in areas such as Honde Valley, Matabeleland South, Bulawayo peri-urban and the three Mashonaland provinces.
“It is assumed that by the end of three years, those farmers would have earned over US$10 million incremental income as a direct result of the competition,” Nyoni said.