BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
A TOTAL of K60 million has been invested in three fruit processing factories located in in North-Western, Eastern and Western Provinces by the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA).
The investment had been made possible through a short-term loan financing facility to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
IDC is setting up the Kalene Hills Fruit Company Limited in Mwinilunga District in North-Western, the Eastern Tropical Fruits Company in Eastern and a cashew processing company in Western Provinces, respectively.
The factories will provide a ready market to small-scale farmers, and other small-scale businesses as the project will act as an empowerment tool to the local community.
The products will include fruit juices, pulp, jam, concentrates, tin packed foods, mineral water, pickles and dried snacks, says IDC Investment Manager, Brian Nalishuwa, in a statement yesterday.
“The factories will be processing local agricultural products ranging from pineapples, mangoes, guavas, oranges to bananas, tomatoes, cashew nuts and groundnuts, among others, for purposes of value addition,” Mr Nalishuwa said.
The fruit factories will not only boost the agro industry in the three provinces, but will also contribute to crop diversification, value addition in agribusiness and ultimately food security at regional and national levels.
NAPSA Director General, Yollard Kachinda, said the factories would stimulate the growth of other auxiliary local industries further bringing value to the people of the three provinces and the country as a whole.
Mr Kachinda said the factories would create thousands of direct and indirect jobs through numerous out grower schemes.
He expressed optimism that the factories would provide quality products with a strong brand that would be able to compete favorably at both local and international markets.
“The local farmers, through the outgrower schemes, will be the major suppliers of the feed stock to the factories.
“NAPSA will leverage the relationship with outgrower schemes through its project unit on the Extension of Coverage to the Informal Sector to onboard the farmers and other businesses onto the scheme so that they can also be socially protected,” he said.