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By Nesia Mhaka
Government is making efforts in supporting agro-processing industries as value addition creates jobs, improves the economy and feeds into the devolution agenda, an official has said.
Addressing exhibitors showcasing their products at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show Agro-processing SME breakfast meeting on Tuesday, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said Government recognised the role of agro-processing which has the capacity to revive the economy and create jobs.
“Government recognises the importance of agro-processing in stimulating economic development, particularly its potential to play a significant role in contributing to provincial economies under the devolution agenda, reviving the economy, creating employment and improving the livelihoods of indigenous Zimbabweans.
“Government has prioritised agro-processing or value addition as one of the key strategies to promote the development and growth of the SME sector,” she said.
Minister Nyoni said the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has instigated various programmes to back up value addition.
“My ministry is implementing various programmes to support value addition activities along the agricultural value chain. These include training on business management and marketing of products and services at local, regional and international shows and exhibition.
“We also have the business incubation support services where SMEs are capacitated through technical and business skills management training, mentorship and assisted to set up their business.
“In addition to the existing incubation facility in Waterfalls, plans are underway to set up more incubation facilities throughout the country.
“There is also financial support through Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation, Women Micro Finance Bank and Community Development Fund.
“My ministry is also supporting the development of saving and credit cooperatives whereby members pool their resources together for on-ward lending to members.
“Business advisory services cascade to ward level where SMEs are provided with on-the-spot advice on how to run and improve their business operations,” she said.