TANZANIA – Tanzania is set to establish a new grape processing plant, an investment worth US$86.4 million which will supply bulk wine to wine processing factories in the country, reports Daily News.

Chamwino District Council Director Athumani Masasi revealed that the construction of the processing plant in Chawino District will start in August this year and would be completed after six months.

“Grape growers will soon benefit from a reliable grape market, thanks to the grape processing plant in the country, which will also create over 1,000 jobs,” added Athumani Masasi.

Mr Masasi said the factory would help uplift the livelihood of grape growers in Chamwino in particular and Dodoma in general, adding that the factory would also help increase revenue collection in the district.

Mr Masasi pointed out Chamwino District Council had teamed up with Workers Compensation Fund and Tanzania Investment Bank to carry out the project after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with public institutions.

“Consultants from Archquant Service Limited are currently reviewing a business plan for the project for improvement,” he said,

According to the District Council Director, the project would be implemented in three phrases, which would include the installation of processing plants in the last phase.

Mr Masasi said lack of a reliable grape market had for many years been a big challenge to grape growers in Chamwino, saying the establishment of the grape processing factory would address the problem.

Dodoma is the country’s main grape growing region in Tanzania making the country the second largest producer of the cash crop after South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa.

Tanzanian small scale grape farmers in Dodoma account the bulk of grape production from about 1260 hectares of land owned by 2107 farmers with a total production capacity of between 10 600 tonnes to 11000 tonnes per year.

Tanzania’s grape production capacity has attracted international investors to into the wine business in the country.

Among them is South Africa’s Distell Group Limited which acquired a stake in the local Tanzania Breweries Limited, a subsidiary Tanzania Distilleries Limited (TDL).

TDL acquired the Dodoma Wine Company and bought the brand of the government.

Other wineries in the country include Central Tanzania Wine Company (cetawico) Alko Vintages and Robbins Enterprises (Tully’s Wine).