BY LORRAINE MUROMO
ZIMTRADE, in conjunction with the Dutch embassy, Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust, Hivos and PUM, have signed an implementation agreement to support 20 female entrepreneurs to export their goods.
The agreement was signed under the programme: 2020 Food for Export Masterclass, which is targeted at female entrepreneurs in various aspects of horticulture, dairy production, food processing and food export business.
“We believe that female empowerment is an integral part of Zimbabwe’s economic development. The food for export masterclass is one that will provide the right support in training female owned enterprises and ensure they are equipped to continuously satisfy the global market,” Zimtrade chief executive officer Allan Mujuru said in a statement.
Through the programme, Zimtrade selects women-owned businesses that will receive support in several areas concerned with export competitiveness such as marketing, branding and negotiation.
Under the funding of Hivos and the Embassy of the Netherlands, the programme aims to emancipate and equip participants, particularly women with networking skills and personal development to ensure that they have the capacity to lead, take risks and innovate.
It will also see the transformation of 20 female owned agri-food enterprises into eligible and successful exporters of farm produce using the latest production methods and business practices.
It will also focus on training, production methods, value addition, certification, bankable business models and market entry expertise particularly tailor-made to match female agro-entrepreneur’s needs.
PUM, a Dutch company, is also set to participate as a technical partner.
PUM is a volunteer organisation committed to the sustainable development of small and medium-size enterprises in developing countries and emerging markets.
“As a technical partner, PUM will provide seasoned Dutch experts in a variety of fields depending on the needs of the 20 participants, but always bringing a deep knowledge of the European market,” ZimTrade said.
“ZimTrade will also support this objective with training in market research and market entry strategies.”
It will also ensure that the trading relationship between Zimbabwe and Netherlands is improved and that women take leadership to grow their businesses. The Netherlands has recently pledged to spearhead a horticulture project in the country.
Dutch Ambassador to Zimbabwe Barbra Van Hellemond was quoted as saying “the project which will be replicated in other provinces across the country is designed to improve market access for small scale farmers to grow their contribution towards export earnings”.