The pioneer of the co-operative, Rangarirai Muchandibaya, revealed to The Zimbabwean that for over a year now, efforts to electrify the group’s biggest project have hit a brick wall.
“We constructed a bakery at Murambinda business centre using the meagre resources donated by group members since the co- operative came into existence. The project is now complete but we cannot commence business because we do not have the financial capacity to install electricity,” she said.
Formed in April last year the co-operative team of 10 women and two men hail from Village Head Muchuchu’s area, under Chief Nyashanu, in Buhera. They specialise in baking bread, buns, cakes and biscuits for the communities residing near Murambinda growth point.
Muchandibaya recalled the motivation behind the formation of the co- operative:
“I have always loved baking. When a colleague told me about Tsitsi Charambira, a food and nutrition tutor from Self Help Development Foundation who was conducting baking lessons at Murambinda Growth Point, I reacted swiftly and visited her.
“She told me to mobilise other women so that we could get the training as a group, and I persuaded my fellow church mates from St Richards Murambinda parish,” said the mother of two boys and two girls.
After receiving the training, the group 25 women mobilised their resources and started baking bread at Muchandibaya’s homestead.
“Some of the members pulled out of the project after we failed to realise any meaningful returns during the first three months,” she said. With only 11 members remaining, the group soldiered on and even went a step further – constructing a bakery for their business venture.
They each donated 1,000 bricks towards the building. “Since some of our members could not afford to buy the bricks, they constructed the bricks in teams,” she said: emphasising that ‘it was a difficult task.’
Since the group could not pay the builder, Edmore Zariro, they entered into an agreement with him whereby he became a part of the co-operative.
The Self Help Development Foundation provided doorframes, windows and more than $2,000 to help cover roofing and electricity tubing expenses.
“The challenge is that we cannot put electricity at the bakery because it is very expensive,” she said.
Budiriro co-operative continues to operate from Muchandibaya’s homestead despite the completion of their bakery at Murambinda Growth point.
She appealed for well-wishers or donors to help them with a loan of $800 required to electrify the bakery.
“We make close to $50 profit for every 50 kilograms of flour we use and we would be glad if we could get a loan to electrify our bakery. We will definitely repay the loan,” she said. The co-operative is one of the many initiatives by African women which end up failing because of lack of capital and financial support. Recent studies indicate that women are the driving force behind Africa’s economy, running an estimated 48 percent of small and medium sized businesses, while growing over 80 percent of the continent’s food.Post published in: News