Communal farmers in Manicaland are set to benefit from agro-business projects aimed at improving their incomes as well as food security.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Muzvuzvu Agribusiness Hub field day funded by Agriseeds and Linkages for Economic Advancement of the Disadvantaged (LEAD) in Chimanimani last week, LEAD finance and administration manager Mr Itayi Karumazondo said the five-year USAID-funded programme sought to assist farmers in natural regions three, four and five.

“LEAD is implementing a programme called ‘Feed the future Zimbabwe crop development’, which will be rolled out in five years and is targeting smallholder farmers in natural farming regions three, four and five,” he said.

“The major thrust of the programme is to improve incomes, food security and nutrition to such households.”

Mr Karumazondo said the organisation was implementing development programmes in Chimanimani through assisting communal farmers in developing agro-businesses that will improve household incomes, as well as food and nutrition security.

He said they were using an agribusiness hub model under which they brought farm input suppliers, farmers, financiers and buyers together to teach farmers best agro-economic practices that helped enhance yields.

“We use an agribusiness hub model, where we invite input suppliers, buyers, micro-financiers and provide a platform where they discuss and teach farmers best agronomic practices for best yields,” said Mr Karumazondo.

“By bringing financiers and suppliers into the mix, we give farmers the zeal to produce for business rather than just for household consumption.”

The Chimanimani community is also being trained in good gender practices, nutrition, as well as hygiene within their farming communities.

It is against this background that the programme aims to have at least 50 percent of its participants as women and 10 percent as youths to ensure an all-encompassing food programme.