A bit of marketing

19 10 2013

The economic climate in Zimbabwe has changed substantially over the past 4 years. Not only do we no longer use our own currency (just about any hard currency is acceptable but the US dollar and South African rand are the most popular) but we are all fighting for what little business there is. This was not always the case for my business. I used to just rely on word of mouth for the customers to come to me. So when a few weeks ago I got an email from a local farmers’ union asking if I was interested in advertising at their annual congress (for a small fee of course) I decided it was time to do a bit of marketing.

So for 2 days this last week I went just east of Marondera to a government technical college where the annual congress of the ZCFU (Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union) was being held. I had little idea what to expect, or even who the ZCFU is, so borrowed a gazebo tent, took along some examples of seedlings that we grow and brought the senior foreman/clerk along too. There was a LOT of waiting. Finally on the last day just as we were packing up the delegates came out of the congress and we got quite a lot of interest. Just how much will translate into business remains to be seen.

A very basic setup

That’s us -a very basic setup

All quiet

All quiet

These photos were taken on the first day when there were just a few students around. The second day there were quite a lot more exhibitors.

The convener of the congress is a relatively small-scale farmer and long time customer of mine. Quite what was discussed I don’t know but he was pleased with how it all went. Most exhibitors were of the usual agricultural supplies and input type but there were even some representatives of the local tax revenue authority there “trying to persuade the farmers to pay their taxes”. I kid you not – this is what one of them told me! We had quite a long chat discussing how to get agriculture going in Zimbabwe again (access to finance and all that implies) though I was quite circumspect on the political aspect. We both bemoaned the dearth of Zimbabwean produce on the local market. So when I went shopping yesterday and actually saw some local fresh produce I just had to take a photo.

Finally some local produce

Finally some local produce