Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
GOKWE South youths and smallholder farmers have been urged to take advantage of available opportunities in the district to transform their livelihoods and increase income earnings.
Speaking during the recent Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) celebrations Gokwe South Rural District Council acting chief executive officer Ms Dorothy Makoni said the district was endowed with vast opportunities that could transform people’s livelihoods.
“There are many opportunities in Gokwe such as agriculture, mining and tourism. I urge youths, women and smallholder farmers to invest in those opportunities so that you can transform your lives and increase income earnings, as well as raise the district’s flag high,” said Ms Makoni.
She said the RDC together with local and international organisations were collaborating to develop a wide range of tailor-made programmes and projects that will equip people with entrepreneurial skills, in a bid to improve the livelihoods of rural communities.
The GEW celebrations were concluded on a high note with 25 outstanding youth entrepreneurs and 10 smallholder farmers honoured and awarded for their exhibitions and pitched business ideas. A total of 84 entrepreneurial trained youths and 14 commodity associations representing smallholder farmers across the district participated in the awarding ceremony.
The winning business and farmer pitches were awarded under the young entrepreneur and farmer entrepreneur categories, with the judges comprising Gokwe community business leaders, Government department heads and financial sector representatives.
Gokwe South District Development co-ordinator Ms Netsai Mushauri applauded the smallholder farmers nominated for taking farming as a business. She said farmers were key stakeholders in the economic growth of the country as agriculture was one of the key pillars of spurring National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Farmers in Action Co-operative Society (FIAC) chairperson, Mr Onismo Tinofa said as an organisation that represents and works with the farming communities and farmer groups in Gokwe South District, they were grateful for the recognition and honouring of outstanding farmers.
“As FIAC chairperson I am very grateful to the various opportunities that have been availed to us as farmers in Gokwe, organisations such as the Agricultural Business Centre (ABC) are not only working with farmers but also awarding them which is something new to us.”
He said that leading by example as the chairperson of FIAC he was awarded the best producer of Bambara nuts (indlubu/nyimo) which is one of the value chains produce under contract farming. Mr Tinofa said as participants they had a privilege to attend a business conference where various topics were covered such as youth land access in Gokwe, market linkages, business performance adaptation and navigation in Covid-19 and youth business opportunities among others.
ABC local economic development officer, Mrs Martha Nyabadza said they have trained about 4 800 youths and more than 4 500 farmers under contract farming producing different value chains produce. She said her organisation has been working with smallholder farmers as well as well as capacitating youths through provision of entrepreneurship trainings and business mentorship.
This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Network celebrated 14 years of helping millions of people unleash their ideas start and scale new business through Global Entrepreneurship Week. ABC is a sustainable social enterprise that has been created in Gokwe South by a German Non-governmental organisation Welthungerhilfe and Empretec Zimbabwe. The ABC project is a four-year project that is being funded by the European Union.