IDC to invest USD $4million in Mwinilunga pineapple plant...
THE Industrial Development Corporation is expected to invest US$4 million in a pineapple processing plant at Mwinilunga, North-Western Province before the end of this year.
IDC Chief Executive Officer Mateyo Kaluba said this follows successful feasibility studies conducted in the area and subsequent approval by the IDC board of directors to invest into the pineapple sector.
Kaluba said he was confident that the project was a viable business to invest in, having learnt from mistakes made in the past.
“We are aware that pineapples are seasonal, so the idea is to invest in a multi-fruit processing plant that will add value to other fruits that can grow in the area,” he said, according to a statement issued by IDC public relations manager Namakau Mukelabai.
Kaluba was speaking after meeting North-Western Province permanent secretary Ephraim Mateyo in Solwezi on Wednesday August 15.
The three metric tons per day production capacity plant is expected to provide a ready market for the more than 3,000 farmers who will be incorporated in the initial out grower scheme in Mwinilunga, Lumwana and Ikelenge. The plant will result in the creation of 100 permanent jobs and 8,000 indirect jobs.
The pineapple industry and value chain had experienced some resurgence but fell on difficult days following the closure of the only cannery in 1992 as a result of the liberalization of the Zambian economy.
The province has suitable soils and weather conditions for commercial growing of pineapples. However, there is need for a comprehensive development of the entire value chain and linkages established into the lucrative fruit export market.
IDC will need to partner with a regional or global pineapple player who can provide market linkages for the plant to be able to expand its production capacity, satisfy the local market demand as well as export through an already established network.
There will also be need for product standardization by having an anchor commercial farming unit that can then be linked to an out grower scheme cable of supporting local farmers with inputs, financing and a profitable ready market.
Setting up a pineapple processing plant alone is just one of the components needed to revamp the industry. There is need for IDC to also share how the plant will be linked into the export market, what government regulatory environment will need to be passed to support locally processed pineapples, and other key dependencies to prevent the US$4 million going down the drain.