VISET to Enhance Entrepreneurship through Value Addition.
The VISET-STELLAR project seeks to enhance the 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.
Agricultural Extension Officer (AGRITEX) Catherine Matipano, spoke on some of the ways young people can use in generating income. She said AGRITEX has a learning center where they train community members on best agricultural practices and went on to give the example of boiling and drying vegetables through the use of solar dryers or the sun as one of the low-cost training offered.
Young people who attended the project launch via webinar were encouraged to be innovative in packaging and labeling so as to attract customers. Catherine spoke of how traders selling kale that has been cut up, vacuum sealed, and labeled that is found in supermarkets are making three times more than what farmers at markets like Mbare Musika make.
Another AGRITEX representative Tendai Marozhe, also added that hygiene in food processing is of utmost importance, from the source, through processing, and finally to the market. Tendai emphasized that personal clothing must be clean, and short nails are a must as well as constant washing of hands is of paramount importance. The environment around which the food is being prepared must always be kept clean and the use of running water is a prerequisite. She further said that the solar dryer concept had many hygienic advantages unlike traditional methods of preservation.
Tawanda 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 learned. He also said that loans were available through Empowerbank to facilitate the financing of value addition projects.
Goromonzi Rural District Council (GRDC), Abednigo Zvobgo, 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 VISET Programmes Department said that as a follow-up activity, they would be liaising with Zimtrade to enunciate on export markets of dried and processed products.