PUNDUTSO Affordable Greenhouses help farmers grow year-round, thereby boosting their livelihoods and bolstering local food security.

Photo of Anyway Munoriarwa
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name


Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • Less than $1k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1 - 10

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Zimbabwe

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Zambia Cameroon Mozambique Siera Lione Kenya



Facebook URL

HESE Affordable Greenhouse Venture

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

In resource-constrained contexts, many individuals are subsistence farmers, who rely on the rains for irrigating their crops. Dry spells of the year lead to seasonal variation in food production and ultimately, unemployment and food scarcity. These water problems, coupled with pest problems and small farming areas limit the productivity of smallholder farmers. This problem is further compounded by climate change which alters weather patterns.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Affordable Greenhouses have the potential to revolutionize the agricultural landscape for smallholder farmers in communities around the world. HESE Affordable Greenhouses help farmers grow year-round, thereby boosting their livelihoods and bolstering local food security. When used correctly, and by timing the market, greenhouses can increase annual yields tenfold while reducing water consumption by 30% to 70% compared to open-air farming. HESE Affordable Greenhouses provide shelter from both the heavy rains and scorching sun, and decreases likelihood of crop failure. Greenhouses are usable year-round and provides a more controlled environment for agriculture, reduces water consumption, and ensures crop production despite seasonal fluctuations in weather. Being able to cultivate crops year-round guarantees greater food security.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Individual Outcomes Improved Livelihoods: HESE Affordable Greenhouse users have a 6 month, or 2-3 crop cycle, return on investment. Improved Household Food Security: A greenhouse provides the opportunity to grow nutritious fruits and vegetables. Social Outcomes Improved Community Food Security: Greenhouses provide year-round access to nutritious foods for the households and for the surrounding community members. Reduction in Unemployment: Greenhouse owners are likely to employ other people to aid in maintaining their greenhouses. Environmental Outcomes Water Conservation: Greenhouses and the microclimate they create allow for a reduction in evapotranspiration that is not found in open-air farming. Greenhouses use efficient irrigation systems like drip irrigation. Greenhouses in Arid and Semi-Arid Areas: Greenhouses can be introduced to places previously considered arid.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

This initiative targets to start with a grant to cover licencing fees and set up costs that include marketing and training. From there we expect the initiative to be self sustaining from Year 3 onwards as we begin to realize profit. We will be selling the greenhouses at a profit. Thus were expect 100% grant for the first two years of operation. From year three to year five we expect 50% earned income and 50% grant. From year 6, 100% earned income. The key success factors for this venture include a strong consumer education campaign, an elaborate marketing drive to push sells, good stakeholder management that allows continuous product re-evaluation as well as product quality control. We will engage in customer education, marketing, stakeholder management and product quality control.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Affordable greenhouses are low cost and accessible to smallholder farmers. There are many other businesses that do greenhouses in Zimbabwe but the cost is beyond reach of many smallholder farmers. Greenhouses sold locally cost more than $2,000 with a minimum size of 300 square meters. PUNDUTSO Affordable Greenhouses are smaller 5.5 *6 meters and cost less than $800. As a result these greenhouses are affordable to smallholder farmers and are made from locally available materials.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

This initiative comes from the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program of the Penn State University. In 2010, in response to several requests from farmer cooperatives and agricultural research institutions in East Africa, HESE students and faculty set out to design AGs that can be built by two people in two days with materials costing less than $350. These AGs are made from locally-sourced materials with the exception of the glazing which needs to be imported. After field-testing approximately ten greenhouses in different climatic conditions and supply chain scenarios in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda, the technology was licensed to a for-profit company in Kenya in 2012.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Other


Join the conversation:

Photo of Marg Leijdens

Dear Anyway Munoriarwa, I agree that affordable greenhouses can be important to increase crop production for small holder farmers. Still I find 800 USD quite a big investment for small holder farmers, and I assume that farmers need training in order to enable them to make effective use of the greenhouses. How do you see this?

Photo of Anyway Munoriarwa

Thank you for your comment. What I would like to point out is that $800 is the cost of the greenhouse considering the longest distance we have envisaged. From our financial model in the worksheet named " Assumptions' you will see that the cost of materials for one greenhouse is $320.42. However the main difference comes from the distance traveled which determines the installation costs. Installation costs on a 30km radius amounts to $23.54 on a radius of 180km the installation costs become $181 while for long distance it becomes $335. So we add these installation costs to the costs of materials. We will then add a small profit margin. Thus in short the price will range depending on distance and $800 is the estimated price on the furthest distance. We see the greenhouses costing about $450-$500 on the shortest distance of up to 30km.

We also look forward to facilitate access to appropriate and affordable finance for the farmers so that they access the greenhouses. We have also thought of other models where we can do rent to buy options and lease arrangements for individuals or groups of farmers. It is also important to mentioned that the we anticipate the payback period of the investment to be around 6 months meaning that the farmers can do a down payment and pay the remainder as they produce.

Thank you

Photo of Marg Leijdens

Dear Anyway,
Thank you for your reply. I understand that the greenhouse is cheaper when the farmers lives close by. I see we have a common point here in our projects. We (GFP Organics) are buying, processing and exporting spices from the North-East of Tanzania. In order to link many farmers to the project we have decided to set up the processing facility close to the farmers. In fact we established it in the middle of the village. This has proven to be key to make farmers (and especially young farmers) committed.
I could imagine that for your project it might also work to set up 'hubs' close to the farmers, from where you can service farmers with the materials for greenhouses. When you are near by, and they can see a demo or others who have built a greenhouse, it might also be easier for them to be convinced.
Please have a look at our project: https://network.changemakers.com/challenge/creatingsharedvalue/entry/village-based-processing-of-organic-spices/
By the way, I clicked (wrongly) on the button 'report' before I wrote this reaction. I don't know what that means. But in case you get a notification of it, you know it was me.
Wish you good luck.