MDI launches event to bridge gaps, empower farmers in Matabeleland


The Matabeleland Development Initiative (MDI) has launched a groundbreaking networking event aimed at bridging gaps among local farmers.

The program seeks to create local and international market access for products produced by farmers in Bulawayo and beyond.

The event has been slated for 28 June and will be held at Parkview Club in Bulawayo. The entry fee is US$10 and tickets are sold at Empire House, Office 4, 6th Avenue and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street.

Sibonokuhle Khumalo, a poultry farmer and spokesperson for the program, stated that the initiative aims to help farmers fully capitalise on their resources and capabilities.

“We are a group of farmers from Matabeleland and we have realised that we are behind in many aspects. This program is a way of networking. We have invited farmers from all over Matabeleland to come together. We have also invited ZimTrade. As farmers, we produce, but some of us don’t know that our products are wanted outside. ZimTrade will assist us if we want to export our goods and inform us on how to sell our products internationally. We have invited Agribank, Ecobank, and other banks to talk to farmers who face capital challenges, and we have also invited suppliers,” said Khumalo in an interview with CITE.

Khumalo said there is need to create visibility for Matabeleland-produced goods, noting that products often sourced from other regions could easily be cultivated within the province.

“The main purpose is to network. We are here as farmers, but we can’t supply because we are not known, and we don’t know where to get assistance. We have overseas sponsors who don’t know where to find us. Government loans are available, but they don’t reach us because we are not known. Some farmers in Bulawayo have farms, water, and land, yet products being sold often come from other places. We want to be the market suppliers for Matabeleland and beyond,” Khumalo explained.

Khumalo stated that the goal of the networking event is not only limited to Matabeleland but extends its invitation to farmers across Zimbabwe who are keen on expanding their networks and exploring collaborative ventures.

She added that mutual encouragement and information sharing among farmers, irrespective of the scale of their operations, are essential for inspiring motivation, increasing productivity, and tapping into available market opportunities.

“This meeting is open to all farmers across Zimbabwe who want to network. Any farmer can come because we want to know who is who. Sometimes you may think you are a farmer with 100 goats, but someone else has more. We want them to be motivated and aware that whatever they produce can be sold internationally. There are buyers out there who don’t know where to find these products. If you have a farm in Nyamandlovu and are doing well but not bringing your products to town, we can’t reach you because we don’t know you,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo also stated that the event will assist farmers who may have land but lack the necessary knowledge or resources to utilise its potential. She added that farmers need to create partnerships and share knowledge under one banner, the Matabeleland Development Initiative, which aims to create a conducive environment for agricultural investment and sustainable growth.

“Some have land but do not know how to utilise it. They can say, ‘I have land but cannot use it.’ Then we can assist in how the land can be used. It is better to get something than nothing at all. You can even have partners with resources to restore the land. We have investors who want to invest in Matabeleland but don’t know us. We have many farmers’ associations, such as piggery. We want to gather all those associations under one umbrella. The piggery will remain as piggery, poultry as poultry, and goat breeding as goat breeding, but we must all fall under the Matabeleland Development Initiative,” said Khumalo.

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