(Tambudzai Macheso and husband Chariton in their maize field, to the right she poses for a picture while demonstrating how she grinds cereal in her grinding mill).
Women are central to agriculture and make a strong contribution to food security and nutrition at both the household and community levels. Their contribution towards food production is limited by barriers to finance, inputs, poor extension services and land ownership among others. Tambudzai defied the odds to accelerate her agribusiness when she was privileged to access a loan from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe.
Tambudzai Macheso (43) is mother to five children and from ward 10 (Chachacha) Shurugwi Rural District. In 2019, her husband, Chariton (47) was working as a artisanal miner decided to stop working because of the risks associated with the trade. The decision left the family vulnerable to food insecurity and inadequacies of household income. Then, Tambudzai was just a housewife with three (3) local chickens and a small back yard garden that she had hoped to grow into a flourishing business.
Later on, in 2019 Tambudzai joined a teamed up with other local women to form a Self Help Group called Manera eBudiriro (ladder of success) that was by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiH Zim) Tambudzai together with other Manera eBudiriro members received a six-modular business development training that gave her a business mind. She saw an opportunity to venture and grow her agricultural business and joined a local micro irrigation scheme in which she was allocated a plot.
Meanwhile ,Manera eBudiriro poraised money from its members to buy indigenous chickens that grew in stock to 345 which they later sold to increase the value of their internal saving and lending (ISAL) purse. In an effort to diversify her businesses, Tambudzai borrowed money from the group’s ISAL and bought a diesel-powered hammer mill to provide the community with grinding mill services.
In July 2023, Ms Macheso received a loan from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe’s accelerator project and re-invested in her business by expanding her back yard garden by fencing, drilling and mounting a solar-powered borehole and procuring and mounting a 5000 litre plastic water tank which immediately scaled up production. She now grows in season and on demand vegetables on a crop-rotation basis and supplies a readily available local market and mining community. She also took advantage of the HiH Zim and Technoserve partnership to supply vegetables for a more rewarding export market. Tambudzai now expects two (2) harvest of any particular crop per year thereby ensuring constant and increased revenue flows throughout the year. Her major crops are leafy vegetables, mealies, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, butter-nuts and green pepper.
To this end, Tambudzai employed two (2) full time workers and hires four (4) casual and seasonal workers. Tambudzai and her husband also provide labour as and when the need arises.
She is also into fish farming and has stocked her fish-pond with 2000 tilapia fish which will be ready for harvesting in December. In her poultry business she has 150 chickens.
(Cheerful and empowered Tambudzai smiles effortlessly).
Tambudzai’s goal is to have a sustainable all year round production cycle in all her income streams .
The future is so bright for Tambudzai as she foresees establishing two (2) more fish ponds to increase on production and widen the market before the end of the year. She purchased a business plot of land at the nearby business centre where she plans to build and open a shop to sell her produces directly to the public. Tambudzai plans to buy a 2 tonne truck to cut down on transport costs and to also enable her to transport her products to bigger towns.
Tambudzai now an empowered woman with bigger dreams. She has self esteem who is motivated and has capacities to manage and fend for her family. There is peace in the house and less stress.