Gutu born 31-year-old single mother, Yvonne Shumbanhete has emerged as one of the top horticultural entrepreneurs in Masvingo and is making strides in proving that she is equally capable regardless of gender stereotypes.
Having started her farming journey just last year, she has managed to set up an agricultural inputs and produce shop in Masvingo called Farmer’s Haven.
Shumbanhete who has a long-term vision of being one of the best farmers in the country is changing the narrative that commercial farming is a male dominated territory and that they are the only ones that can succeed.
After realising that there was only one major player in Masvingo supplying crop seedlings, she took it to her advantage and ventured into business during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Shumbanhete feels that young women shun horticultural farming due to the complexity in getting funding and land to undertake such agricultural projects on a larger scale.
“It is difficult to access loans from banks and because of inflation nowadays, if you apply for a loan today and gets approved in a month it will be insufficient by the time you get it,” said Shumbanhete.
She also pledged her support for businesses of some of her customers by purchasing their farm produces.
“I also do value adding, not only do I sell my products, I also buy from people I would have sold seedlings to and supply to large companies like supermarkets.
“Some of the produce I buy from them, is processed and packaged, for example I buy their vegetables and process mufushwa and this is a way of uplifting other women,” said Shumbanhete.
She is also working with Africa-Asia Youth Foundation and says farming projects and businesses can help in curbing social ills that are affecting the girl child in communities.
“I am working with Africa-Asia Youth Foundation and so far using the seeds from my nursery we have started giving out seedlings to young women to start their projects and support them by finding market for their produce and in turn pass on within the club so that everyone ends up with their own business.
“If women are empowered, I believe that most of the social ills will be eliminated like Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) because women will be empowered to report and walk away from toxic relationships and make choices for themselves and not depend on partners to take care of them,” she said.
Besides agriculture, Shumbanhete is an arts promoter, youth pastor, development practitioner who is also a qualified Information Technology (IT) and Information Systems officer.