African Enterprise Challenge Fund

»» This is a wonderful story about a Zimbabwean farmer with a big vision, a newly married farming couple, a remarkable 70-year grandmother who has adopted 11 orphans, and an enterprise challenge fund that’s helping change all of their lives forever.

Zimbabwe has faced many challenges over the past years and continues to do so today. But beyond the headlines are stories of hope and transformation. Partnerships that are challenging the country’s cycle of poverty and bringing economic growth and opportunity to those who need it most.

A key to profitable, sustainable agribusiness in Africa is when strong businesses enrol rural farmers into their supply chains, offering agri-training and secure markets. Partnerships like these often attract the attention of development funds such as the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) who selected Sondelani Ranching, a Zimbabwean tomato, chicken and maize feed agribusiness, as the beneficiary of a $750 000 grant and interest-free loan. This arose out of Sondelani founder Peter Cunnigham’s commitment to developing young Zimbabwean farmers and drawing them from life in the cities back to the land. It’s a strategy he believes is fundamental to real economic and social development in his home country…and AECF agrees.

AECF’s support is helping Sondelani build a state of the art tomato processing plant on the outskirts of Bulawayo which will buy the crop from young emerging farmers, most of whom have been trained in crop management, business and life skills at Sondelani’s Ebenezer Agricultural College in Zimbabwe’s magical Matopos region.

This is a story filled with hope, lots of model farming and wonderful characters woven in between. Enjoy!