African woman in business – Ruramiso Mashumba
Ruramiso Mashumba is passionate about indigenous organic grains and is currently growing a rice variety that is native to Zimbabwe and at risk of becoming extinct. She has 10 years’ experience in agriculture and is a horticulture farmer and grows crops for export into the European Union and Africa. Ruramiso has a 100ha plantation on her farm and is working with a sustainable forestation association to address the issue of deforestation.
She holds an Agriculture Business Management degree from the University of West England. Furthermore, she is the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union youth wing, the first woman in 75 years to hold this post. She is also a member of the Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions. Ruramiso is currently working on a project of training women and youth. After the Fellowship she plans to return to Zimbabwe to expand her training center, and empower women and the youth.
Ruramiso also founded Mnandi Africa, an organisation that helps rural woman to combat poverty and malnutrition by empowering and equipping them with skills and knowledge in agriculture, nutrition, markets and technology. Mnandi also assists women in accessing affordable and effective agro-technology through an input-sharing program, and collectively purchasing and selling goods and services. Its vision is to ultimately end hunger and poverty.
How Ruramiso started
Ruramiso Mashumba is a young female farmer from Marondera, Zimbabwe. She started farming in 2012 on a farm she inherited from her parents. At the time, the farm was just a bush with no equipment and the necessary infrastructure.
In 2013, she started growing snap peas for export to the European Union and Africa. She has since expanded her operations and now grows a variety of horticulture crops, indigenous organic grains that she mills into our under the brand Mnandi organic and traditional, brown rice as well as commercial maize. Ruramiso is also involved in forestry – in 2014, she partnered with Sustainable Afforestation Association, a Zimbabwean-based organisation, and planted 100ha of gum trees. She is also venturing into seed production after securing a contract with a renowned company to grow 30ha seed maize and 20ha seed millet.
Her interest in farming started while she was working in the United Kingdom for one of the leading agricultural equipment companies.
It was there that she realised the potential of equipment and technology in transforming agriculture. This led her to commit to change the image of agriculture, and she embarked on farming upon her return to Zimbabwe. Ruramiso has never looked back since she started farming and is continuously looking for ways to improve and grow her farming business. The many opportunities that she knows exist in agriculture keep her interested in remaining a farmer.