Government is considering drafting a policy to promote commercialisation of traditional and indigenous foods to provide a basis for empowerment of women and youth entrepreneurs through opportunities at different levels of the agricultural value chain.Research has shown that there is considerable potential for economic success linked to traditional and indigenous foods given their higher nutrient content than conventional food sources.
In that regard, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in partnership with ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organisation and other stakeholders, will today meet to interrogate the challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs in commercialising traditional and indigenous foods in Zimbabwe.
The Industry and Commerce Ministry, ZimTrade and the Zimbabwe Evidence Informed Policy Network believe that there is potential market development opportunities that can be connected to various food production value chains.
Zeipnet seeks to promote evidence informed policy making in Zimbabwe through various interventions, among other objectives.
The policy dialogue is bringing together stakeholders from the grain sector including, farmers, processors, traders and nutritionists with a view to come up with policy recommendations to Government.
The traditional and indigenous foods policy dialogue is expected to come up with policy recommendations, highlighting opportunities
in the sub-sector and also addressing quality, standards and other compliance issues.
Some of the expected outcomes from the policy dialogue include addressing intellectual property issues concerning the commercialisation of traditional and indigenous foods, contribute to the ongoing debate on women and youth economic entrepreneurial empowerment in the context of the economic blueprint Zim-Asset.
Further, the policy dialogue will discuss access to finance and market development strategies and collaborate with various stakeholders to produce a policy brief for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
A food and agriculture 2014 research showed that there is considerable potential for economic success linked to traditional and indigenous foods given their higher nutrient content than conventional food sources. Recently, in Zimbabwe this success has been exhibited in the commercialisation of Maheu through Delta and Dairibord Zimbabwe.
As such, a gap has been identified with regards to the commercialisation of traditional and indigenous foods at a time when international markets are showing increasing interest in the foods.
In one of its international trade missions, ZimTrade, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in February organised a trade mission to the European country which revealed the export potential of traditional and indigenous foods in the European Union. It is against this background that the Industry and Commerce Ministry, ZimTrade and Zeipnet are holding the policy dialogue on the challenges and opportunities facing women and youth entrepreneurs in relation to commercialising traditional foods in the country.