Tomatoe canning plant to be located at Esigodini

Tomatoe canning plant to be located at Esigodini
Published: 2016 January 17 23:40:59 (1604 Views)


Esigodini is set to be the location of a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art tomato processing and canning plant. It will begin soon following the relocation of the equipment which had been lying idle for over two decades at the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) Balu Estates in Umguza District, Matabeleland North Province to its location in Matabeleland South.

The tomato processing and canning factory is a public-private partnership arrangement between Zagrinda, a company owned by Arda and Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) and beverage manufacturer, Schweppes Zimbabwe.

Zagrinda is owned by Arda and DTZ on a 50-50 basis. The tomato processing and canning project was part of the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo's industrialisation vision, which he spearheaded through the DTZ.

Arda board chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza confirmed the relocation of the equipment from Umguza to Esigodini and hinted that production was likely to begin this year.

"In fact virtually all the equipment has been moved to Esigodini. I can safely say about 90 percent of the machinery is already on the site. We are now in the process of getting new computerised equipment as suggested by the Italian engineers that will be installing the equipment. We have to get the latest technology on the market because the existing one is rather archaic.

Thereafter, the installation work will begin and this will be done soon," Mr Nyabadza said.

The machinery includes electric motors, storage tanks, piping material, steamers, mixers and various farming implements like tractors, harvesters and sorting machines.

Mr Ndumiso Mpofu, chief executive officer of Umzingwane Rural District   in whose area of jurisdiction the factory would be established said the setting up of the plant was likely to enhance the district and the province's economy.

"I can't comment much on the project because its owners are still to approach me but what I can say is that it is something that we have long been waiting for as a district. Its concept was deliberated on long ago but I can't comment because I don't know when it will be launched and how it will benefit the district.

"However, if it's still the same concept we expect it to boost agricultural production among farmers because they will be having a closer market in which they will be liable to feeding the machinery and it also resonates well with the Zim Asset drive on value addition and we expect to have some of the locals getting employment there," said Mr Mpofu.

The Esigodini tomato processing and canning plant is the second such project being undertaken by Zagrinda in partnership with Schweppes Zimbabwe with the other one being in Norton. Refurbishments of the Norton plant have been completed and operations are expected to start in February. According to Mr Nyabadza around 70 percent of the manufactured products would be for the export market while the remainder will cater for the domestic market. Namibia is especially keen to find investors in tomato paste production to support its fish industry.

It has a huge industry exporting fresh and canned fish.



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