Strategies for re-engineering the growth and sustainability of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agrarian sector in the Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe.
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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the agrarian sector play a considerable role in poverty reduction and economic growth. Governments across the globe have emphasized SME re-engineering as a policy thrust for economic development. It is against this background that this research aimed to evaluate strategies for re-engineering the growth and sustainability of Zimbabwean agrarian SMEs. The primary purposes were to understand the challenges experienced by agrarian SMEs in re-engineering their growth, critically examine the re-engineering strategies, namely government policies, agricultural support mechanisms, SME development strategies, gender dynamics, SME management, and develop a framework to re-engineer agricultural SMEs in Zimbabwe. Hypotheses were developed from an in-depth literature review to examine the relationship between the strategies for re-engineering SMEs in the agrarian sector in Zimbabwe. Random and purposive sampling techniques were used to survey 380 SMEs and 30 key Policy-makers and Agricultural Field Marshalls from the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe. The data was analysed using SPSS to perform descriptive and inferential analysis. The main findings, based on regression analysis, showed that there is an association between government policies and the success of the re-engineered SMEs. Furthermore, there was also a strong relationship among agricultural support mechanisms, gender, management and techno-innovative strategies in re-engineering SMEs, as they all contributed to economic growth. Based on these results, it is suggested that policy-makers focus on developing SMElinked policies and skills development, so that the re-engineering processes can be successful and ultimately lead to the agricultural and economic development of Zimbabwean agrarian SMEs.