Sydney Mubaiwa in ZAKA
With the start of marula season, hundreds of women here have discovered that marula beer (mukumbi) is more than just a traditional drink as they have started collecting marula fruits to make beer which they are selling to locals and people from as far as Chiredzi and Bikita.
Women from villages like Murerekwa, Chipanza, Muroi, Benzi, Vhudzi and other villages around Jerera Growth Point are expecting to make a decent profit from the marula beer. In an interview with Mrs Vongai Bere who is one of the producers in Chipanza, she said the traditional beer was filling up their pockets to pay school fees and buy groceries.
“We collected marula fruits from the trees and started making beer which takes three to four days to be consumed by drinkers.
“We learnt how to produce marula beer from our eldes who used it for traditional rituals years back ,” she said.
Mrs Bere said in the past, women in her area never saw the business opportunity in producing the beer as they have been giving it for free.
“Today ,a 20 litre bucket of the product is selling at $100 and $10 for a 2 litres container. We are making good money daily because most of the people in rural areas no longer afford to buy beer from the shops.
“This is a better income generating opportunity rather than being involved in prostitution ,theft and many other bad activities,” she added.
Another producer in Bare village, Mrs Emelda Gomo said marula is also regarded as an energy drink which is soft enough for younger drinkers provided it is consumed just after brewing.
“It is also a kind of a family drink,” she said.
“Our children drink it because it gives energy. It is sweet as orange crush so young people can have it without any problems if taken early before its maturity and adults take it as a beer, so they have to wait for it to ferment on its own for a few days,” she said.
Marula fruit ripens between January and March each year and collecting them to brew beer is an age-old tradition, however women here have discovered that brewing marula beer could bear economic benefits.