|12 Aug 2023|
|2023 Finalists Global Student Prize|
Growing up on a small farm in Zimbabwe, Tafadzwa witnessed firsthand his parents’ struggle as smallholder farmers – working tirelessly year-round yet trapped in poverty and struggling to make ends meet. This experience sparked a need within him to solve this problem for his parents and other farmers in the community. When Tafadzwa got to high school, he began researching ways to help his community become better farmers, consulting various teachers and agriculture experts for knowledge on the subject and solutions to the challenges they faced.
Once at university, Tafadzwa started working on a mini-project to link farmers to markets in his hometown via an online WhatsApp platform. This allowed him to gain more insight into the real problem – access to knowledge and finance. Together with a team of helpers, Tafadzwa founded eAgro, a platform that leverages technology to help small-scale farmers bridge the information gap that exists between them and large agribusinesses. By providing access to real-time market information, weather forecasts and other critical data, eAgro is enabling farmers to make more informed decisions about their farming practices. eAgro has made a real impact on farmers, not only improving their yields but also allowing them to break out of the smallholder farmer trap, earn better prices for their produce, generate extra income, and pay off fees. This has had a ripple effect on their families and communities, contributing to poverty reduction and improving the overall standard of living.
Today, eAgro has grown from a mini-project into a student-run company servicing over 10,000 farmers in Zimbabwe. eAgro itself has also created employment opportunities for young people in the community, which has had a positive impact on youth unemployment rates. The service proactively seeks university students and recent graduates to help them get extra income and real-world work experience.
Tafadzwa has won several awards for his entrepreneurial activities, including the Texas Christian University Business Plan Award and the Yale Startup Review Student Edition in 2021. He was a Top 26 contestant in the Anzisha Prize Fellowships 2022, which has helped fund his projects and expand his knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship. eAgro was also awarded Best Young Startup of the Year 2022 (Zimbabwe) by Total Energies.
With the Global Student Prize funds, Tafadzwa would continue expanding the eAgro platform as well as further promoting agricultural education and entrepreneurship among young people in Zimbabwe and other developing countries. This could include developing new educational resources, expanding the network of mentors and partners, or offering more training and support to students and aspiring farmers. Tafadzwa would also use some of the funds to support students from farming backgrounds who may face financial barriers to completing their education – providing funds for school fees and uniforms, or offering mentorship and support to help these students achieve their full potential.