This Startup is committed to Food Preservation, Waste Management and Empowerment
Zimbabwe’s farming community plays a crucial role not only in the economy but also when it comes to the sustenance of many families. For decades, small scale farmers have been supplementing their income through market gardening and producing fresh vegetables for resale to vendors in the urban areas. Although quite lucrative, their business incurs losses. The “freshness” of produce is an important factor when it comes to pricing and because vendors end up throwing away 40% of their produce daily, the farmers bear the brunt. Chashi Foods founders Prince Chakanyuka, Forget Chareka, and Keith Chivanga, upon realising this plight, made it their mission to create a viable solution.
The trio’s story is one of persistence and a form of teamwork that all entrepreneurs should learn from. A chance meeting in Rwanda and Silicon Valley brought them together and the fact that all 3 were students based on different continents did not deter them. Prince is based in England, Forget in Latin America, and Keith in Zimbabwe. The dynamic team behind this managed to function remotely before it was mandatory and they have managed to build a world-class brand. Chashi Foods is an enterprise that is reducing food waste and preserving produce through agro-processing and drying tomatoes, mangoes, bananas, and pineapples. They are the first enterprise in Southern Africa to use the Sparky Dryer, a recent innovation with efficiency 5 times that of conventional solar dryers. Product recipes were developed at Earth University, one of Latin America’s leading agricultural science university in Costa Rica.
After a year of building their prototype and doing copious amounts of research, the enterprise was officially launched in January 2020. Chashi uses a B2C and B2B model that has opened up various markets in Sub Saharan Africa and the diaspora. Their vision is grounded on empowering and assisting 1 million African farmers by 2030. In addition, Chashi facilitates capacity building initiatives for the farmers, some of which have been essential because of the disruption in operations that were brought by the Coronavirus. The team has kept in contact with farmers and are helping them adopt sun drying as a way of preserving their produce. It is wonderful to see entrepreneurs who are committed to empowering their ecosystem by any means necessary!