Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

Empowering Zimbabwean Agriculture: BVTA’s Training Revolutionizes Smallholder Farming Strategies

In a significant stride towards empowering smallholder farmers, the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) recently conducted a transformative workshop focused on value addition and product diversification. This initiative aimed to equip farmers with essential skills to enhance the value of their produce, ensuring they reap greater profits and navigate market challenges effectively.

Unlocking Profitability Through Knowledge and Skills

The BVTA workshop, attended by smallholder farmers, provided a platform for intensive training on strategies to elevate the value of agricultural products. Langton Moyo, BVTA’s monitoring and evaluation officer, emphasized the importance of arming smallholder farmers with the right skills to optimize their businesses for maximum benefits.

Moyo stated, “We saw that it was very essential for smallholder farmers to learn all the right skills in order to properly run their businesses to facilitate the attainment of maximum benefits.”

Addressing Challenges in Farming

The timing of the workshop coincided with challenges faced by farmers, including a delayed start to the rainy season and increased costs of essential inputs like seeds and fertilizers. As El Niño-induced below-average rainfall was anticipated, farmers found themselves grappling with uncertainties.

To navigate these challenges, farmers adopted a strategic approach, withholding grain in anticipation of a potential drought. This tactic aimed to capitalize on increased demand and prices in the event of a grain shortage, showcasing the resourcefulness of the farming community in the face of adversity.

Value Addition: A Strategic Response

Langton Moyo emphasized that value addition training is a key element in helping smallholder farmers develop strategies for market survival amid price fluctuations. By diversifying income streams and reducing vulnerability to market uncertainties, farmers can enhance their long-term sustainability.

“Value addition training will help farmers to know ways of diversifying their income streams and reduce their vulnerability to price fluctuations in the market, and also by adding value to their products, farmers can reduce post-harvest losses and improve the shelf-life of their products,” explained Moyo.

BVTA’s Collaborative Market Initiative

BVTA executive director Michael Ndiweni highlighted the positive response from smallholder farmers who are actively participating in supplying fresh produce to the Nkulumane fruit and vegetable market in Bulawayo. This initiative, spearheaded by the Local Government and Public Works ministry, aligns with the Building Urban Resilience in Zimbabwe through creating Safe Markets and Green Solutions program.

Ndiweni emphasized that this project empowers farmers by putting them in control of pricing, addressing challenges faced in private markets. This move towards public markets ensures fair pricing and timely payments, alleviating the financial burdens faced by farmers.

A Brighter Future for Smallholder Farmers

In conclusion, BVTA’s dedication to empowering smallholder farmers through strategic training and collaborative market initiatives signifies a positive shift in the agricultural landscape. By unlocking the potential for value addition and market control, BVTA is contributing to the resilience and prosperity of smallholder farmers. As they continue to adapt and innovate, the future looks promising for these essential contributors to our agricultural community.

Original Article written by EMMANUEL MPOFU 

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