Shurugwi district entrepreneur taps into export market

48-year-old Shupikai Mhlanga has turned a (0.5 ha) dry piece of land in Shurugwi district into a profitable horticultural garden- with the help of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe.

The farmer says she previously experienced a roller coaster of ups and downs in her business endeavours due to lack of knowledge on how to successfully manage an enterprise.

In 2020, her situation however turned around after enrolling for the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Jobs Creation Project. Through the project, Shupikai joined Manera Self-help Group and went through intensive 6 modular trainings on business management.

“Before meeting Hand in Hand Zimbabwe I used to sell turkeys and leafy vegetables but the business failed due to lack of knowledge on money management. To make things worse, my unemployed husband would use the little profit to buy his beer.

“This made it hard for us to provide for our children with decent meals and money for school fees,” she said.

The 48-year-old says the modules on managing money and enterprise finance enlightened her on how to handle finances, and enabled her to trace and correct all previous mistakes in her business activities. Shupikai also managed to buy in the support of her husband and shared the new knowledge with him.

Equiped with all this knowledge, Shupikai immediately established her horticultural garden on a piece of land she previously acquired under the Shandira irrigation scheme.

To date, the hardworking woman grows a combination of green mealies, leafy vegetables, potatoes, peas, sugar beans and wheat which she sells locally.

To top it all, Shupikai and members of her Self Help Group jointly export peas from their horticultural gardens to the United Kingdom (UK) with the help of another local organisation.

On a good month, she racks in a profit of USD$300-$400 from local sales and exports.

In addition to that, Shupikai has diverse streams of income such as an internal Savings and     Lendings (ISALs) club where she contributes USD$5 and invests USD$25 in a group SACCO.

Thanks to her hard work, she has successfully pulled out her family out of the poverty trap.

Asked about future plans, Shupikai said she wants to drill a borehole at her homestead and venture into fish farming.

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