Agribusiness in Zimbabwe: Entrepreneurs capitalising on opportunities

Nobukhosi Ndlovu is the founder of peanut butter producer Nutrie Foods.

Nobukhosi Ndlovu is the founder of peanut butter producer Nutrie Foods.

From producing peanut butter to exporting products made from the baobab fruit, these six businesses are embracing the potential of Zimbabwe’s agribusiness and food industry.

1. Transforming a home recipe into a national peanut butter brand

In July 2013, Nobukhosi Ndlovu established Nutrie Foods in Harare. While working as an HR consultant and operating a few sideline ventures, her ambition was to commercialise the peanut butter that her mother had crafted in their hometown of Zhombe. Today, Nutrie Foods not only produces peanut butter but also offers mixed fruit jam and marmalade. The company additionally packages honey, sugar beans, soya chunks, and rice under its brand. These products can be found in an array of supermarkets and local shops throughout Zimbabwe. Ndlovu candidly acknowledges that the toughest hurdle was getting her products onto supermarket shelves. She once remarked on Facebook: “Producing a product is easy; getting it to market is death.” Read the full article

2. Zimbabwean businessman taps into agri-processing potential

Grain Solutions Agro Industries, founded by Titus Mboko, started its journey as a grain trader, purchasing from other traders at lower rates and selling at higher prices to major agri-processors. The enterprise then transitioned to agri-processing, focusing on milling maize and wheat into products like maize meal, bread flour, and animal feed. This business model supports rural agriculture by providing a consistent market for farmers. Additionally, the company handles transportation logistics, moving grains to its factory and delivering finished products to rural areas. Read the full article 

3. Health-food firm sets sights on regional exports

Lesley Marange transitioned from a food scientist to entrepreneurship by launching Glytime Foods, pooling a $2,700 loan with personal savings. The health-food venture now employs dozens of people and specialises in vegan foods, cereals, snacks, and honey. Glytime sources its raw materials directly from thousands of local farmers. Not only has Glytime Foods established a strong domestic footprint, but it is also expanding its horizon beyond Zimbabwe. The company has already penetrated the Zambian market and is actively setting its sights on a broader African expansion. Read the full article

4. Turning Zimbabwe’s baobab into a global product

Baobab powder, derived from the fruit of the baobab tree, boasts nearly four times the vitamin C of oranges. This powder also offers essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Gus Le Breton, a Zimbabwe-based entrepreneur, played a pivotal role in obtaining European Union market approval for baobab powder in 2008. His company B’Ayoba processes baobab into powder and seed oil for export. There are an estimated five million baobab trees in Zimbabwe. Roughly 3.75 million of these are situated on communal lands, making them potential candidates for commercial use. “A conservative estimate is that we could harvest about 12,000 tonnes of fruit sustainably every year. At present, we are only harvesting 1,500 tonnes annually,” Le Breton says. Read the full article 

5. Zimbabwean proves insect protein can be a viable business

On a flight between Zimbabwe and South Africa, Brighton Zambezi overheard a transformative discussion about the protein potential of black soldier fly larvae. The former technician was inspired to venture into black soldier fly farming to cater for the demand for affordable chicken feed in Harare. Overcoming challenges such as sourcing initial stock and seasonal production constraints, Zambezi not only transformed his professional trajectory but now educates others across Southern Africa about the potential of maggot farming. Read the full article

6. Serving all income segments with a diverse product range

Last year, Spear Capital, a private equity firm with European backing, made an investment in Associated Foods Zimbabwe (AFZ), a food manufacturer that offers products ranging from jams and peanut butter to snacks, cereals, and canned goods for both the Zimbabwean and regional markets. AFZ originated in 2015 from the consolidation of two companies: Spread Valley, known for its Mama’s brand peanut butter, and Honeywood Enterprises, which primarily produced jams, tinned fruits, and vegetables under the Farmgold brand. Their merger aimed to capture a commanding presence in specific product categories under the AFZ umbrella. Read the full article