Home Community Rusape Women Gardeners Thrive Despite Challenges, Seek Support for Marketing and Resources

Rusape Women Gardeners Thrive Despite Challenges, Seek Support for Marketing and Resources

by Bustop TV News

By Panashe Kaseke

In the picturesque Mukuwapasi village under Makoni District in Rusape, a determined group of women has been making waves since 2005 through their passion for gardening.

Despite facing various challenges, including marketing their products and acquiring land and inputs, these resilient women have continued to thrive. They have not only been able to sustain themselves but also contribute significantly to their community.

The women of Rusape have been earning a living from their gardens for nearly two decades. Their produce, ranging from fresh vegetables, butternut squash, potatoes, maize, and other hot-culture crops, has not only provided sustenance but has also become a source of pride for the community.

In an interview with Bustop TV, Hellen Bakare, the overall leader, gave an overview of their projects.

“We have three gardens,” she said. “The main garden is Chiomva Garden, which started in 2005 and has 19 members. The second one, Bwanya Garden, was developed from the main garden and it now has 16 members. The third one is Chitungwiza Garden, which we formed in 2017, and now has 12 members.

“In each garden, we have committee members who are in charge of all the garden activities. Apart from gardening, we also have an investment club, ‘mukando,’ which is helping us to raise money for our inputs. However, the money is not enough.” She said.

One of the major challenges faced by these women is marketing their products. Despite producing high-quality goods, they often struggle to find buyers willing to pay fair prices. This has led to financial difficulties for many of the women, making it harder for them to invest in their gardens and expand their operations.

“Challenges we are facing include marketing opportunities, transportation, and proper preservation resources,” Bakare said. “When we harvest our crops all at once, sometimes we struggle to get transport from the gardens to the Rusape marketplace. Sometimes our produce will not be bought in one day, and we don’t have proper storage for the leftovers.

“Another challenge is the availability of land and inputs. We are relying on small pieces of land, which limits the amount of produce we are growing. We also want to empower young women, youths, and the disabled by including them in our projects, so we need land for that. My plea to those who are in charge of land allocation is for them to consider us whenever they are doing land distribution in Rusape.

“Additionally, our access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and tools is limited, further hindering our ability to maximize our yields,” said Ellen Mutandwa, one of the group members.

Judith Nyati, one of the project beneficiaries from Bwanya Garden, emphasized that they are being empowered economically and socially.

“We are benefiting from the projects,” she said. “We are no longer starving in our homes, our children are having a balanced diet, and we are now able to cater for some of our household needs. Also, we are now occupied, and this has reduced the rate of gossiping and all inappropriate activities in our community.”

Despite these challenges, the women of Rusape remain optimistic. They believe that with the right support, they can overcome these obstacles and continue to grow their businesses. They are calling on the government, NGOs, and other stakeholders to provide assistance in marketing their products and accessing land and inputs.

The women of Rusape are a shining example of resilience and determination. Despite facing numerous challenges, they have continued to thrive and support their families. With the right support, they are confident that they can overcome any obstacle that comes their way.

Related Articles