By Tamuka Charakupa
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to commission the newly completed Allied Timbers Processing Plant at Cashel in Chimanimani with the facility set to produce at least 42 000 cubic metres per annum.
This Friday, the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon Mangaliso Ndlovu expressed satisfaction over the rate of construction progress at the state-owned Allied Timbers Zimbabwe plant in Cashel, Chimanimani after nearly two years of construction.
“I am here to assess the development and I am quite impressed that it is now up and running after we had the groundbreaking in September. This plant is right in the middle of a rural setup and will employ thousands from this area,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“The President is always talking about rural industrialisation and this one is a perfect example. Foreign currency will be also generated from sales so this is a national development.”
Allied Timbers Zimbabwe, chief executive officer, Remigio Nenzou said the plant is expected to generate about US$12 million each year when operational.
“We have turned around how ATZ used to operate to profitability. This new plant, probably the biggest in the country, will generate over US$12 million per year. We have now employed thousands from this area and we are looking forward to continuing producing enough to meet both the local and international market.”
Traditional leader Chief Mutambara emphasised the need for the local community to safeguard the development through controlling veld fires and warned of punitive measures for offenders.
“This plant will address the unemployment challenge in my area. Of importance is the need to safeguard it against veld fires. I have emphasised this with my village heads that anyone caught spreading fire will be punished and be an example to others,” he said.
The US$13.3 million plant becomes the largest timber processing plant in the country with a capacity to generate at least 42 000 cubic metres of timber translating to a revenue generation of about US$12 million per year.