By Joyce Mukucha
While the lockdown period came has a massive blow to the progression of the business world, it has emerged that the downtime can be a blessing in disguise for small scale farmers in Zimbabwe.
An interview with Sokonia Kaitano Managing Director of Blue Chip Fisheries International established that small scale farmers are likely to benefit from the current lockdown period were food is a basic priority. Farmers in various productions to take advantage over the port of entries closure.
“People need food and most needed products are produced within agriculture include fish. This is an opportunity realised by the industry and we are urging farmers to be well-positioned to serve the nation as imports will be scarce or no imports, ” he reiterated.
Kaitano’s clarion call went a long way I’m awakening small scale farmers to realize their massive role in feeding the nation. Also urged colleagues in the industry to amplify the visibility of their products through adoption of viable marketing strategies.
“We are also helping our farmers by connecting them to individuals in different WhatsApp groups where they can get individual orders then they try to make a direct delivery, it’s not very easy to move orders as one requires a letter of the permit but the focus of generating income must remain,” he added.
However the current lockdown intensified by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 is restricting some farmers from transporting their products to the intended marketing destination. This looks at distribution of fish, milk, meat, among other to butcheries, supermarkets and restaurants.
“Now we can’t travel to farms, some farmers are harvesting their fish, the market is not easily accessible due to limited business by distributors. Wholesalers and retailers including butcheries, restaurants, and takeaways are not taking our farmers’ products due to restricted movement of people,” he said.