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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Manicaland to benefit from fruit processing plant

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

FARMERS in Hauna area of Manicaland province are set for rich pickings with the construction of a local Fruit and Vegetable Processing Plant expected to be complete by the end of next month.

The construction of the plant under the country’s rural industrialisation initiative will see local farmers benefitting from better returns and increased shelf life of their produce with proper storage facilities.

“There are few buyers who come to buy our produce here at low prices as we don’t have transport to take our produce to Harare. The establishment of a processing plant will turn around our situation,” said a potential beneficiary.

“Bananas are perishable hence transporting them to far away markets would result in loses. We are happy that God has helped us to ensure the establishment of a processing plant here in Nyandoro area for us to have disposable income,” said another.

The project has also created employment for locals, “The construction of this factory has created employment for us in this village. As a woman I am happy to be employed here and the construction of this factory is a positive development for us in Honde Valley. This factory will benefit women more as they are the producers of bananas.”

Hauna Processing Plant site manager Anderson Mapfudza revealed that construction works are expected to be complete by the end of next month.

“This project was started on 28 February and we look forward to conclude it on 28 June. There will be two production lines, one being to process chips and the other for banana powder. We are 65% complete as we have finished most of our work including excavations and brick work. We are now focusing on roofing before connecting electricity and putting on ceilings,” he said.

Government is convinced the project is a giant step towards promoting the viability of banana production and reducing poverty in Honde Valley.

“The Government of Zimbabwe got help from African Development Bank through the International Labour Organisation to construct a fruit and vegetable processing centre in Hauna. The plant will process bananas as well as distributing bananas to other high value markets. This will eliminate market access challenges for the locals. This will ensure farmers realise increase profit margins,” noted Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Provincial Development Officer, Gabriel Jaji.

Construction of the Hauna Fruit Processing Plant is in line with government’s drive to promote rural industrialisation and grow the horticultural sector to improve livelihoods.

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