Chipo Taruvinga is a young, vibrant and upcoming horticulturist working towards becoming the best vegetable supplier in Chirumanzu District and Gweru. The 34-year-old woman could not afford to sit back and watch her family fall into the clutches of hunger due to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. In her bid to fight poverty, Chipo unleashed the untapped potential in her, as she soon began to use her natural talents to realise her dream of becoming the best supplier of fresh vegetables to big lucrative markets in the Midlands province.
The married mother of two (2) from Nyamakwe Village in Ward 20 Mavise, first came into contact with Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiHZim), around July 2018, when she was already venturing into horticulture.
As it turned out, Chipo was fortunate enough to join Bright Mind Star Club, where she was introduced to the HiHZim health, motivation and entrepreneurship trainings. The three-pronged component trainings helped build her self-esteem, confidence and gain awareness on the importance of having good health. Chipo is grateful for the entrepreneurial training she acquired because the trainings stirred an unquenchable desire in her, which led her to live her dream – becoming the best supplier of vegetables to recognised markets and make a name for herself.
Chipo has also acquired a few technical skills, which include tomato jam making, nutrition porridge, vegetable drying, and liquid soap making. The emerging horticulturist is now adding value to her products. At the moment she is supplying both fresh vegetables as well as dried vegetables to her customers.
Chipo’s Bright Mind Star Club is made up of 10 female members, with each member expected to contribute monthly savings of RTGS$10.
“I am very happy to be part of this group, not only because it has become my second family where I get support, motivation and encouragement to achieve my goals, but I also borrow money from the club to buy pesticides to protect my plants,” she said.
The star club itself is doing very well as group members are involved in value edition, thus making nutrition porridge and vegetable drying.
Chipo also got the opportunity to attend a look-and-learn tour that was conducted at Zezai consolidated garden in Ward 11. After the visit, Chipo was motivated and encouraged and she went back and reorganised her vegetable garden replicating all the methods she had witnessed at Zezai Consolidated gardens.
As an entrepreneur trained on identifying opportunities and resources, Chipo moved her vegetable garden close to a river, which gives her easy access to water supply for her variety of vegetables, which include covo, rape as well as tomatoes and onions.
With her newly acquired skills, Chipo’s garden is flourishing, and recently it was used for a look and learn visit in Ward 20’ as a way of encouraging other entrepreneurs to increase production.
“My garden is a living testimony that it is possible to earn a living from farming and that you can achieve anything in life only if you put your mind to it,” she said.
Through the strength of network, Chipo was able to secure a selling place at a nearby market, with the assistance of a local teacher.
Currently, she is selling her vegetables at RTGS $2 a bundle and tomatoes at RTGS$30 per bucket. In a month she gets RTGS $160 for her vegetables and she also sells at least four (4) buckets of tomatoes and get RTGS $120. These calculations have been consistent for the past three months.
But with Zimbabwe’s annual inflation skyrocketing and prices of goods and services rising on a weekly basis. Chipo was advised to keep up to date with change of prices in products so that she does not make a loss.
“My plan now is to supply large retail shops such as Pick n Pay with my products. I am grateful for the support I am getting from Hand in Hand and my star club, and God willing I will not rest until my dream has come to life,” she said.