Young Zimbabwean entrepreneur charms Africa

Young Zimbabwean entrepreneur charms Africa

By Margaret Matibiri

AGRO-Processor and culinary arts chef, who is also a beneficiary of the Zimbabwe Community Development Fund, Zororo Taruvinga, charmed Africa at the just-ended Maputo International Fair (FACIM), Mozambique’s biggest trade, industrial and services fair, where she scooped the Overall Best Exhibitor Award and the Third Best Foreign Exhibitor Award.

Taruvinga (35) is the founder of the Agro-processing company Zoro Nemugoti, which produces gourmet sauces, drinks, vegetable crisps and edible gifts.

He went to Maputo under the ZimTrade banner supported by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises Development.

Taruvinga, who is ecstatic for having been the best exhibitor where there were over 2 000 exhibitors from 22 countries, spoke to ZBC News.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting the win,” she said.

“One minute I was walking around the exhibition stands, the next minute I hear that the Mozambican Prime Minister, His Excellency Adriano Maleiane was at my stand. When I turned to go back to my stand I was then told to go to the podium where he was expected to be addressing all exhibitors. It was a moment of brief confusion because I had no idea what was going on.

“I went to where he was going to address us and there I was, being honored with this award. I didn’t dream of it, but I know I have given my work a 100 percent commitment.”

Taruvinga, a culinary arts chef by profession and working abroad, returned home to Rusape in 2020 with nothing except her passion for food and a strong drive to reinvent food and offer healthier food options after she resigned from her job.

“My family was scared for me. I was leaving a proper paying job and coming back home with nothing but my passion for food, ” she said.

“Being a culinary arts chef, I love food and love experimenting with food. When you are staying abroad you have certain foods that you miss and sometimes you can’t get them from home to where you are because of the produce’ weight. Then you come back home and it’s the mango season, everyone you visit is offering you the same thing and it gets boring, there is no variety.

“Sometimes you get into the shop, you are hungry, you have the money but you just don’t want the ordinary stuff. You want something more and it’s just not there; that was my motivation. I wanted something that could tickle people’s minds.”

Taruvinga spoke about her products which won her the award.

“As a country, we do not have our own cuisine, we eat unhealthy foods. So, I make healthy snacks and create something that we can relate to as a people. We have nacho crisps which have the crispy crunch and taste of tortilla chips or potato chips you crave. We also have sweet potato and taro (madhumbe) crisps.

“We have marmalade, jams,  tamarind (musika) juice and ginger fizzy drink. Then there’s the red hot drops sauce, this one is the all-rounder. You can use it as a dip, marinade for cooking and even making your mocktails.

“Then there is the popular one, Masau Chutney – I made this especially for lamb and chevon (goat meat). When rearing goats they eat all the earthy things, masau included. So the sau flavor is already in the meat and this is where the chutney comes in. It will complement the flavors already found in the meat and celebrate those flavors.”

Taruvinga applauded the government’s initiative on the Community Development Fund which is running under the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprise Development.

“I am a beneficiary of the fund after having joined it this year and I have since purchased a solar dehydrator with money from the fund and this will go a long way in growing our business and putting Zimbabwe on the global map.”