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Zimbabwe: Entrepreneurs sets up value-addition firm for banana flour

Two entrepreneurs have established a banana flour manufacturing company in Mutare as they drive value-addition.

The company, Greenit Diversified Group, was co-founded by Ropafadzo Zimunya (chief executive officer) and Munashe Musarurwa (chief operating officer) who are in their 20s.

“When I finished Advanced Level, I took a gap year and decided to venture into business. We got statistics of banana industry in Zimbabwe through research. We started in November last year after we won $5 000 from Celebration Church Mutare Padare business forum. We then won another $10 000 from the Youth Entrepreneurs Programme financed by CBZ Bank,” Zimunya said.

He said the manufacturing plant was designed and fabricated locally by one of the engineers in the team. The company employs eight people inclusive of the co-founders.
Despite being in its infancy stages, Zimunya said the product uptake in Mutare was performing well.

“It’s now sold in some supermarkets and small shops in Mutare. Because of our current production capacity, we can’t afford to supply main stream supermarkets like Spar, OK, TM Pick n Pay,” he said.

Zimunya said the company was currently producing products per order of up to 1 000 units per day, depending with the demand on the market.

“We have a special way of manufacturing our product. We get our bananas in surrounding places in Mutare like Honde Valley. Our product can outperform the wheat flour and the market is growing,” he said.

Zimunya said the company was looking into working with over 7 000 smallholder banana growers, but was facing challenges of lack of trust with the farmers who have been duped before.

The company, Zimunya said, would grow organically and will not quickly look for loans for fear of being trapped into debt.

Musarurwa said the company had a vision of exporting the banana flour.

“The vision of Greenit is mainly centred on being a benefit to our community and nation at large. Our products are also beneficial, not only to the local market, but globally. In terms of jobs creation, we believe we have the potential to become a global employer in various ways. We target to attract an export market for our products as well in the short term,” he said.

Zimunya will enrol for business management degree at a local university, while Musarurwa has enrolled for a marketing degree.

Source: NewsDay (Article by Fidelity Mhlanga)

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