The BUSE BOOST/ENACTUS team came first after thrashing nine universities in the BOOST/ENACTUS National competitions which were held on 12 July 2019 at the Celebration Centre in Harare.
Adding another feather on BUSE’s cap, the team’s mentor Mrs Dorothy Murasi who is also the University Campus Life Coordinator scooped the Faculty Advisor of the Year award.
The team is set to represent Zimbabwe in the World Cup Competitions scheduled for 16 to 18 September 2019 in San Francisco (Silicon Valley) in California (USA).
For their winning project, the BUSE team presented the Agri-plus project which was a product of their partnership with Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and SMART CONNECT. The project comprised of two components which are smart agriculture and value addition. The project aimed at providing vulnerable farmers and their families with the means to enhance their agricultural activities, move steadily out of poverty and improve their livelihoods.
“The main goal of AGRI-PLUS was to generate multiple income streams using an inclusive value chain process to create a supply chain from the production to marketing of value-added products,” said Mrs Murasi.
The team trained farmers in Dotito on best farming practices and good crop production methods for low-rainfall areas. The methods encompassed soil and moisture conservation practices and crop variety selection as well as post-harvest management to reduce grain losses. With the help of Professor George Nyamadzawo who is the RUFORUM Coordinator, farmers were also trained on the use of climate- tolerant small grains and nutritional gardens so as to improve their household food security.
The smallholder farmers also received training on farming as a business, emphasizing on market linkages and group development. “We empowered our farmers with techniques to initiate startups and successfully manage projects,” said one BUSE BOOST team member, Briany Tinarwo,
For post-harvest management and value addition, the BUSE BOOST team introduced the Sohwe peanut butter. “We are happy that the Dotito farmers felt empowered and confident as they now have their own peanut butter brand,” said Tinarwo.
The team went on to create markets for the Sohwe product by introducing the farmers to SMART CONNECT which is a web based application that links farmers and the market in the comfort of their homes. The application was designed by a lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Dr Lovemore Musemwa and his students.
Mrs Murasi expressed her appreciation to everyone who supported the team. “It was not an easy journey due to the prevailing economic situation. We are grateful to the university and the two partners RUOFORUM and SMART CONNECT for their unwavering support. They helped in adding value to people’s lives,” she said.