Female #FoodHeroes: Ruramiso Mashumba

Farmer Zimbabwe

Ruramiso Mashumba

Ruramiso is a commercial farmer in Zimbabwe. 

What do you do?

I am proud to be called a commercial farmer as well as founder of Mnandi Africa, an organization that looks at reducing poverty and malnutrition in rural homesteads using agriculture as a tool.

On my farm I grow commercial and seed maize, a mix of horticulture crops, and between 2014-2017 I exported my produce to the EU. I also have a plantation of trees for timber production.

On a research level I’m working on some indigenous grains looking at how we can promote their consumption in order to promote nutrition. I’ve found that there is not a lot of information on such grains, and most of them have yet to be commercialized. Their processing to end product is also a big challenge, which in turn affects the marketing of these products .

Why do you love your job?

I love being able to produce food in order to help reduce the challenge of food insecurity in my community.

How did you get here?

I started farming when I was around 16, at a local school I attended. My father had recently bought our farm around about that time. I really enjoyed the subject and the scope of its potential in terms of access to food. My mother was in humanitarian work, so my passion for my community grew as I learnt from her the challenges that people in marginalized communities face. I continued to study farming up to degree level, and then studied agriculture business management at university in the UK.

What is your advice for young women wanting to contribute to sustainable food and farming?

The World Food Programme estimates that if women are given access to resources, we would see 100-150 million less hungry. Meaning women are central to ending hunger.

How does agriculture need to change to be fit for the future?

The future of agriculture involves the use of technology, science and respect of the land. It needs to adopt technology in order to commercialize.

I hope to be able to create communities that can help each other achieve sustainable agriculture.

What’s one challenge you face as a woman in agriculture and what do you think needs to be done to overcome this?

One challenge I face as a woman is access to resources. Even now it’s very difficult to secure capital. I think we need more organizations looking at building the capacity of women farmers in order to bridge the gap women today face.

Ruramiso is a strong advocate for Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Visit her Crop Protectors page to find out why this is important for her and why she’s training women to use IPM techniques to tackle weeds.

Ruramiso is just one of many inspirational women working in agriculture. Visit our Female #FoodHeroes page to hear from other women working to improve plant science and nutrition.