Pasichigare group members in Chikomba District has achieved the impossible, transforming a dry two-hectare piece of land into a flourishing garden, thanks to Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiH Zim) interventions.
The 10 members, who previously struggled to earn a decent living in the semi-arid region said their lives changed for the better after getting business training and technical support from HiH Zim.
Although the group was originally formed in 2014, their venture only began to bear fruit in 2017 when the members came into contact with HiH Zim.
The organisation swiftly erected a fence and installed a solar water pump for the group after members completed their trainings. Within a short space of time, the group increased production as they were no longer reliant on wells and natural rainfall, which has become erratic in the country over the last two years.
“Before we had a solar pump, our production was very low because we had to use drums to ferry water to irrigate the plants from the community well,” said Veronica Mukonza, the group’s chairperson in an interview.
We used to get as little as $80 per month from our produce but to date we get up to $640 per month,” she said.
The group’s blossoming garden has a variety of horticultural crops such as potatoes, beans, chomolia, cucumber, onion, okra, butternut and tomatoes among others.
Veronica said on a good month the group can sell up to 50 bundles of chomolia per week at $2 each and 9 buckets of onions at $60 each per month.
“Our crops are in high demand from local villagers as well as other people from surrounding areas. Some supermarkets in the district have also expressed interest in buying our produce,” she added.
“We are really grateful for the help we received from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe and would like to continue working with the organisation until our operations are self-sustaining. Before we met Hand in Hand life was hard; but now things have changed, instead of incurring costs of trying to sustain the garden, we are now making profits.”
Veronica said the group members are currently reinvesting their income into the business, and are hoping to share bigger profits in the coming months.