The Herald

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter

farmers and vendors are incurring losses due to lack of proper post-harvest handling and preservation techniques.

At Mbare Musika, most farmers and vendors end up throwing away perishables, while in some areas children are suffering from malnutrition and victims of Cyclone Idai are also struggling to get food.=

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday toured the Mbare Musika agricultural produce market and expressed concern that perishables were being thrown away.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa interacts with vendors at the Mbare Musika produce market yesterday. — Pictures: Tawanda Mudimu

She said if preserved, perishables could go a long way in ensuring food security.

“As a mother, I get worried when I see food being thrown away when there are other communities facing food shortages especially children,” she said.

“It is now time to go back to the traditional ways of preserving food through processing and value addition. We should now come up with strategies on improving our post-harvest handling of agricultural produce to ensure food is available throughout the year.

“We need to find ways of assisting the vulnerable who are facing food shortages especially the children.”

Amai Mnangagwa chose Mbare Musika because it is the place where different stakeholders such as the Government, private sector, transporters of agricultural produce, and the financial sector transact.

“This place makes me happy because despite the different seasons, there is always agricultural produce on sale even during the public holidays,” she said.

The First Lady said it was unfortunate that droughts and climate change had taken toll on food production resulting in a huge deficit, hence the need for preservation technologies.

She asked some elderly women to demonstrate how they dry vegetables and some of them had undergone training by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.

They are now selling processed food.

The First Lady took the opportunity to urge people to unite, work together and come up with solutions to the problems they face.

She said it was time to bring glamour to Mbare Musika, adding that all other agricultural markets in Zimbabwe should be highly-organised to attract buyers including tourists who bring foreign currency.

Women’s Affairs Minister Sithembiso Nyoni applauded the First Lady for working hard to assist the needy, especially children.

“We thank the First Lady for her efforts in supporting the needy. Mbare Musika is a major market in Zimbabwe and faces numerous challenges.

“The coming of the First Lady marks a new era for this place. She came to unite everyone and that is her aim. People were not aware of Kanyemba area, but through the First Lady, the area is developing. Mbare is now our Kanyemba and together we will develop it,” she said.

Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Senator Oliver Chidawu said: “The First Lady is hard working and has her own ways of helping people in Zimbabwe, especially uplifting lives of the vulnerable communities.”

Murehwa farmer, Mr Tawanda Mhangwa, said the First Lady had empowered many farmers.

“There are times when our products are flooded at the market and we make huge losses as most of our produce are perishables. Now we will preserve our produce, share with the needy and also stock for future use.

“Not all people like fresh food, some like dried food so instead of throwing away food we can preserve and sell as dried products,” he said.