Marula Zimbabwe

Rural women cultivating, harvesting, processing and marketing marula tree products
2011 SEED Award Winner Sustainable Agriculture Masvingo, Zimbabwe

The women-led initiative Marula Zimbabwe trains local women to produce, process, quality control and market marula tree products. The fruit, bark, juice, skin and leaves of this native plant are used to produce a variety of products, such as jam, wine, dried kernels, oil, nuts, herbal powder and soap. The Development and Finance Institute for Rural Women Trust (DFIRWT) encourages women in the Chivi District in Southern Zimbabwe, grouped as Marula Zimbabwe, to generate additional household income by processing traditional marula tree products. As well as receiving advice on production and processing, the female entrepreneurs are trained in finance, business management, savings and credit. Marula Zimbabwe, in collaboration with the Zvishavane Water Project (ZWP), has successfully acquired two hydraulic oil-pressing machines and ensures consistent product quality through sampling, etc. Such quality monitoring is essential in order to achieve a high quality of the products, especially the oils, and thus to market marula products effectively. The initiative also works with PhytotradeAfrica, a regional trade association, which carries out product research and development as well as providing links to markets for the initiative’s finished products. International marketing of marula products is also planned. 

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

Marula Zimbabwe trains local women to produce, process, quality control and
market marula tree products. The native plant is grown organically and harvested with sustainable methods.
  • Enabling women to generate additional household income.
  • Engaging in long-term capacity building by providing women with training in all aspects of business management and the production process.
  • Having trained 200 people so far, 80% of them women.
  • Protecting the native marula tree and preventing over-harvesting by promoting sustainable harvesting methods.
  • Ending the use of pesticides and fertilisers to promote organic production.

  • Generating revenue that contributes to overall community development and supports other sectors of the local economy.
  • Supplying use of oil-processing machines for a fee to non-members, which facilitates local production and businesses.


This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

The Development and Finance Institute for Rural Women Trust (DFIRWT) is the initiator of the project and is responsible for developing entrepreneurs and training them in business management and financial planning.

The Zvishavane Water Project (ZWP) facilitates planning, training and quality control. It has provided in-kind support in the form of hydraulic oil processing machines.

Phytotrade Africa is a regional trade association that others information and advice on research, marketing and product development. It can provide the initiative with links to local and international markets.

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