Most of you will know that agriculture used to be the most notable industry in Zimbabwe. Interestingly, many still think that agriculture still leads the pack. Sadly, it is no longer the case and has not been for some years now. The previous year, 2020, the agricultural sector contributed less than 8 per cent to the GDP. This is far below what it should be which clearly shows farmers need support. In as much as the government can and must play a role in supporting them, more can be done through various means. One of such is people pursuing business ideas that support farmers. Here are some of them:
Business And Management Consultancy
So many Zimbabweans are passionate about farming but may not necessarily have skills and knowledge. This is where business and management consultancy comes in. I cannot exhaustively list the possible focuses in this area. It is too broad and diverse; the possibilities are endless. Some quick examples can be consultancy in the areas of greenhouse farming, fish farming, farm management, export farming, and so on.
You should settle for a field you have unquestionable knowledge and skills plus a proven track record. The beauty here is that a successful farmer can also double up as a consultant. This business idea is immensely important since it ultimately enhances productivity.
The need for relevant, accurate and current knowledge or information can never be overemphasised. In the field of farming which is highly technical, it is even more important. By becoming a content creator you can provide such information to farmers. You can start a farming blog where you regularly post farming content. In Zimbabwe, people are always looking for such content.
You can also venture into vlogging as well where you can post regular videos. For example, you can start a YouTube channel on-farm diaries i.e. documenting farms visits to successful farms. This will provide invaluable insights to aspiring or current farmers as well. You can also consider coming up with publications such as manuals, magazines, books, and so on.
The additional great thing about content creation is that it also affords farmers the platform for ad placement. You get to bring convenience to many farmers and in so many different ways. Content creation can even be premised on just documenting farmers’ journeys which gives them exposure in the process.
Speaking of ad placement, farmers need to market themselves effectively. I think many farmers in Zimbabwe still struggle to timely get a market for their produce. I see many farmers on social media desperately selling their produce. This all stems from not having a robust marketing strategy.
These days there is the internet and social media to leverage on. However, most farmers do not have enough knowledge on how to effectively use these platforms. Stuff like SEO or keyword densities is so alien to them that they are mostly clueless. Starting a digital marketing enterprise or agency can help a wide array of Zimbabwean farmers. You can come up with packages where you do their ad placements, social media management, online branding, and so on.
Digital marketing cannot be consummated without having a website. Having a website is such a huge part of being in this digital age yet most do not have them. Especially farmers in Zimbabwe have a serious weakness when it comes to having an online presence.
Earlier this year, I had to do some consultancy work for Bluegrass Partners. They needed comprehensive details on agribusinesses and farms in Zimbabwe. I had a tough time finding such details online. Most of them have no websites and no social media accounts.
I still do not quite get why people ignore such an important area. Farmers in Zimbabwe need help in establishing an active online presence. Providing a service where you develop websites for farmers is highly needed right now.
Mobile Apps And Software Development
This comes in to further expand the preceding two aspects – digital marketing and web development. Additionally, mobile apps are central to optimizing how farming is done and the overall management of operations. Most farming ventures in Zimbabwe are still done using archaic approaches. The need for using modern technologies and innovations such as smart agriculture is long overdue in Zimbabwe. Mobile apps and software are pivotal to rolling out such.
Most farmers struggle in accessing financing – it impedes the progress of many. I am actually in possession of a US$80 million integrated farming business proposal document by a Zimbabwean who is looking for funding. Such cases are many in Zimbabwe and we need to see more financing options for farmers. Venture capital or angel investing is needed in Zimbabwe for farmers. Farming in Zimbabwe has vast prospects and it should be easy for someone to access funding. We need to see more financial services providers with tailor-made options for farmers.
These are 6 business ideas that I know can support farmers in Zimbabwe. If you start a business or startup idea in any of these areas you will hit gold. Plus you will get to provide solutions that will help many Zimbabwean farmers out there.