Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) in partnership with the STELLAR project, yesterday Thursday the 7th of October 2021, held a webinar on Enhancing Entrepreneurship through Value Addition.
In explaining the purpose of the webinar, VISET Information and Publicity Officer Jabulani Chikomwe said the STELLAR project seeks to enhance resistance of young people to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unpredictable economic environment by imparting business skills, raising constitutional awareness and promoting digital literacy.
The first presenter was Catherine Matipano an Agricultural Extension Officer (AGRITEX) spoke on the boiling and drying methods of vegetable processing through the use of solar dryers or the sun. Catherine said they as AGRITEX have a learning centre where they train community members on best agricultural practices. It was also important to be innovative in packaging and labelling to attract customers said Catherine, giving examples of traders selling kale that has been cut up, vacuum sealed and labelled that is found in supermarkets at three times the price of vegetables at farmers markets like Mbare Musika. She also highlighted that the use of recommended dryers allows for retention of taste and colors of food.
Tendai Marozhe also of AGRITEX said that hygiene in food processing was of utmost importance, from the source, through processing and finally to the market. Tendai emphasized that personal clothing must be clean, and short nails was a must as well as that constant washing of hands was of paramount importance. The environment around which the food was being prepared must always be kept clean and the use of running water was a prerequisite. She said that the solar dryer concept had many hygienic advantages ver traditional methods of preservation.
Mr. Chiwanza of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture welcomed the VISET and STELLAR initiative saying that this would unlock immense economic value should participants be willing to take up the lessons learnt. He also said that loans were available through Empowerbank to facilitate financing of value addition projects. Mr. Abednigo Zvobgo of the Goromonzi Rural District Council (GRDC) informed participants that Empowerbank had since been given land to construct a district office and that there would soon be a permanent presence of the bank.
Edward Kapodogo the VISET Acting Programmes Manager in conclusion thanked the panellists and officials for taking the time out to participate in the webinar and said that as a follow up activity, they would be liaising with Zimtrade to enunciate on export markets of dried and processed products.