Thousands of women in rural areas are expected to benefit from a million-dollar castor bean agriculture deal signed by the government, the Women’s Bank and a private company, Life Brand.

About 20 kilometers on the outskirts of Harare along Old Mazoe Road is where an elderly woman, Viola Murandu is growing a new export crop, castor beans.

After being contracted by a private company to venture in the oil cash crop production, Murandu is now harvesting her flourishing castor beans which have a lucrative export market.

The castor bean deal was officially launched by the Minister of Women Affairs, Cde Sithembiso Nyoni who encouraged scores of farmers who converged at the green-day held at the Murandu farm in Mazoe district to venture into the export crop in a big way and earn foreign currency.

The first phase of castor bean project will see over 200 women accessing full package of inputs under a $1 million loan facility availed by the Zimbabwe Women Micro-Finance Bank in a strategic partnership with the private company.

Targeting over 80 000 hectares, the new castor bean project is expected to spread to all marginal areas and empower thousands of the rural folk to generate the much needed foreign currency for the country.

Castor bean is drought resistant and India the biggest producer of the cash crop, growing over 1 million hectares and producing a wide range of by-products for local use and export.