ZIMBABWE –The Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) has secured an investor for a tomato processing project earmarked to process at least 60 tonnes of tomatoes per day, businessdaily has learnt.
Basil Nyabadza, Arda chairman, said the multi-million dollar tomato canning plant would be established at Arda Balu Estate in Umguza District.
“We have now secured an investor for the Zagrinda Project; the investor is registered on the ZSE and by year-end we will be processing 60 tonnes of tomato per day. As you know, the plant was the brainchild of the late father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomo,” he said.
Zagrinda is an Arda subsidiary, in which Arda and the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) have a 50-50 ownership stake. The DTZ is a national independent trust whose main thrust is to focus on development at national level and is chaired by Economic Planning minister Simon Khaya Moyo.
Although Nyabadza refused to disclose the name of the investor, citing confidential clauses in the contract, Charles Msipa, Schweppes managing director, was recently quoted saying his firm was in preliminary talks with Arda to kick-start a multi-million dollar tomato canning plant at Arda Balu Estate in Umguza District.
The plant, according to Nyabadza, will mainly focus on the processing of mango and tomato into jam and paste as well as canning.
“The arrangement is we will contract the farmers and go to them. This project is on a phase-by-phase basis so when other crops like guavas and mangos are in season we will also process them,” he said.
The Arda boss also noted that the company had identified Tanzania as an export market for its products.
Meanwhile, Nyabadza said the parastatal was also working on re-introducing rice production at its Jotsholo Estate in Lupane District, which was stopped more than a decade ago due to insufficient water supplies for irrigation.
Arda has also partnered with Sinotex Zimbabwe, a Chinese company, to produce cotton seed at the Jotsholo Estate.
“Right now the investor who is there is carrying out limited production of cotton seed but we would like to expand that by bringing back rice production but water siltation remains a challenge.
“First and foremost that estate is anchored on access to water. So once we address that then we can go back to rice production because rice production is about water,” Nyabadza said, adding that the parastatal had “more projects in the pipeline”.