I have spoken considerably about the importance of value addition in Zimbabwe. It should be known that as a nation we have lost billions of US dollars over the years. This has all been caused by focusing most on exporting and selling stuff raw. There is so much untapped potential when it comes to value addition in Zimbabwe. I am so passionate about this and when I see Zimbabweans developing an enterprise centred on value addition I get excited. Today I am talking about Zeengaz Banana Chips, have you heard about them? Well, by the end of this article you will not only know but you will also be eager to go try them out.
Who Is Richard Zengeni?
Richard Zengeni is the young Zimbabwean entrepreneur behind Zeengaz Banana Chips. He is aged 25 and he aims to both produce and manufacture most products being imported into Zimbabwe. This is borne from a realization of the imbalance that exists in Zimbabwe when it comes to imports and exports. There are countless products that we have no business importing because we can effectively produce or manufacture them here. Richard Zengeni’s vision is to produce affordable quality products for Southern Africa and beyond. Evidently, his focus is not just on import substitution but most importantly he wants to export. The great thing about all this is that he has already started implementing his vision.
Zeengaz Banana Chips
He had decided to start with the value addition of bananas into banana chips. This is a unique, timely and competitive addition to the snacks industry in Zimbabwe. Snacks are fast-moving consumer goods in Zimbabwe so banana chips are a strategic twist. People in Zimbabwe are generally accustomed to chips made out of corn and potatoes. Bananas are a delicacy for literally everyone so they made into chips would definitely fit in with most people. Richard Zengeni says that the idea of Zeengaz Banana Chips came from his brother. He then proceeded with Tafadzwa Sedeya and Patrick Mambondiani to implement it. They started the venture during the very first lockdown, in pursuit of financial freedom. Today Zeengaz Banana Chips are steadily making its presence known and establishing its place in the market. The name ‘Zeengaz’ is actually derived from or connected to his surname ‘Zengeni’.
The Team Behind The Brand
Currently, the team is comprised of 45 people. This includes everyone from management to the merchandisers. They once took a loan from Emperial Legacy Group and Empowerbank. However, Richard Zengeni cites that they believe in self-capacitation and that is why they save and expand.
Challenges Faced So Far
The major challenge has been putting Zeengaz Banana Chips into big supermarkets. Obviously, this is a huge concern because getting the product on shelves of big supermarkets pushes the brand forward. They have applied to several big supermarkets for listing but 3 months down the line no favourable responses.
Fortunately, a few days ago, OK Supermarkets approved their application. This means any time soon we should be seeing Zeengaz Banana Chips in OK Supermarkets. This would add to Choppies Supermarkets which already carries Zeengaz Banana Chips. There are also various shops on Ruzende Street Old Bhadhela that carry the product. They are also found in Kwame and 2nd Street Shop Number 1.
Richard Zengeni would like you to know that Zeengaz Banana Chips are a delicacy from bananas. They made by young people and buying them goes a long way in supporting these young people. These banana chips know no age or event; they are suitable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. You can contact him on +263 783 337 856 for any enquiries or if you are interested in partnerships or investing. You can also get in touch on Facebook and Instagram. Let us spread the word, let us go try out Zeengaz Banana Chips. Let us push and support local Zimbabwean brands.