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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Baobab fruit value addition empowers communities in Manicaland

Story by Tamuka Charakupa

VALUE addition has been identified as key in driving rural industrialisation, with several communities in Manicaland province benefitting through establishment of baobab fruit processing plants.

Communities in the dry regions of the province are now reaping the benefits of the baobab tree after the establishment of two baobab fruit processing plants at Birchenough Bridge and Nyanyadzi by a local company.

Several communities from Chimanimani, Chipinge and Buhera are benefitting from the initiative, including through employment creation.

“This project has transformed the face of our community. We are in a dry region and we don’t grow enough food so we really appreciate this opportunity to work at this plant. We are earning decent incomes,” said a community member.

“We used to take the baobab fruit for granted not realising its true value. Now we are getting money from just picking the fruit while also being empowered with jobs. We did not know that the baobab fruit can be value-added and potentially change our community. We are now focusing on planting more for sustainability purposes,” noted another.

Bayoba Manicaland area manager, Mr Douglas Philimon revealed that the firm is collecting about 900 tonnes every season, paying cash to local collectors.

“We have 41 permanent employees at our two plants, at Birchenough Bridge and Nyanyadzi. We also buy from our collectors who are based in the communities in three districts, Chipinge, Chimanimani and Buhera. On average, we are harvesting around 900 tonnes of the baobab fruit. The idea is to advance rural industrialisation and also push for value addition and sustainable use of natural resources,” he said.

Chimanimani West legislator, Honourable Wilson Maposa is confident value addition of baobab fruits will propel rural industrialisation and economic growth of the area.

“Over the years our communities only consumed a little percentage of this baobab fruit but now there is value addition which is now creating opportunities. Our communities are being employed and empowered and this is a positive development as far as conservation is concerned,” he said.

The Second Republic is championing rural industrialisation through investment in rural communities, a key deliverable under the National Development Strategy One.

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