IDC to in­vest USD $4mil­lion in Mwinilunga pineapple plant...

Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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