Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
THE Lupane Women’s Trust (LWT) has embarked on income generating projects targeting youths as it moves to improve their livelihoods in the wake of limited employment opportunities in the country.
LWT manager Mrs Hildegard Mufukare said the organisation has now diverted from its norm of empowering women affiliated to it and now includes youths as beneficiaries of its income-generating programmes.
“Since our inception we have always focused on improving the livelihoods of women of all ages through ensuring that they venture into various projects and of late we have deliberately shifted focus to men and youths in general,” she said.
In February, LWT distributed a crate of eggs each to 21 vendors that peddle various wares mostly vegetables and fruits at Lupane Centre in a bid to improve their coffers.
The institution runs a layer poultry project with 1 000 birds that realise over 900 eggs per day.
“A group of 21 vendors approached us seeking assistance to develop their enterprises and we also took note that most people who reside within and around the business centre are involved in vending due to few employment opportunities and that most of them face challenges to capacitate their enterprises. We then decided to give the vendors a crate of eggs each from our poultry project and we are already seeing a difference as they have managed to come back to buy more as well as increasing their capital for the purchase of more vegetables and fruits for sale,” said Mrs Mufukare.
According to the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe there are more than a million vendors in the country, with over 100 000 operating in Harare of whom some 20 000 peddle their wares on pavements in the central business district.
Mrs Mufukare said the vendors have also managed to form a savings club from the revenue generated from the eggs selling venture.
“The vendors have managed to form a savings and lending club whereby they now lend cash to each other and pay back with interest and in so doing they are likely to enhance their investments,” she said.
Mrs Mufukare said the organisation was looking forward to assisting beneficiaries of its broiler project to embark on value addition so as to increase revenue.
“We also have a group of 13 people that we distributed chicks to for them to embark on broiler projects. The thrust is not only to have them rearing the chickens for sale but we are looking at the processing aspect, ensuring that they add value to the chickens through processing them into various products such as sausages among others, which they will sell to locals,” she said.
A product is classified as “value added” if its raw material has been processed to achieve an increased market value. Value added products have applications in both food and non-food markets.
Mrs Mufukare said there were also plans to parcel out part of their farm to youths to embark on horticultural production.
“Our plan on the farm is to parcel it out into small plots to youths and train them in horticultural production. We will train them in seedling and crop management and at the end they will sell their produce and use the revenue they will generate to capacitate various projects at their homes.
“We are looking for partners to assist us with logistics on the upkeep of the youths during the horticultural train workshop which we are looking at having in June. We need to get more support so that a lot of people can realise how they can turnaround their livelihoods through agricultural projects,” she said.