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-The Herald

Two companies have acquired nearly 20 000 square metres of land at Rutenga growth point for the construction of two marula processing plants, which have potential to create hundreds of jobs for locals.

The projects, which are being championed by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, are in line with Government’s job creation drive and Vision 2030 of an upper middle income   economy.

Parrogate (Pvt) Limited, an Indian company and the National Biotechnology Authority (NBA), have since started work on their plants at Rutenga in a move poised to initiate industrialisation of the sprawling settlement.

The impending opening of the processing plants has already stirred excitement in Mwenezi and surrounding areas with villagers making a killing from gathering and sale of the marula fruit.

The marula fruit, which is also used to make the popular mukumbi traditional brew, is in abundance in Mwenezi.

An NBA factory that will house the plant is already on the verge of completion while Parrogate’s structure is still in its infancy.

Mwenezi Rural District Council chief executive Mr Albert Chivanga said they were excited by prospects from the two plants.

“The Parrogate plant by the Indians will cover 6 000 square metres while the NBA plant will straddle 13 000 square metres and we are happy with progress to date.”

Mr Chivanga said the two firms will create hundreds of jobs for locals as besides marula juice, the plants will also produce wines, thick oils and stock-feeds.

“We have been informed that the marula fruit is a multi-purpose raw material which can be used to manufacture many things ranging from juices to animal feed,”

he said.

Villagers around the growth point were already generating huge sums of money from the sale of marula fruit, which is being stockpiled by the investors for processing once their plants are up and running.

Said Mr Chivanga:

“The two companies have already started buying the marula fruit which they intend to process and villagers are making a killing from gathering and selling the fruit.”

Mwenezi District Development Coordinator, Ms Rosemary Chingwe, hailed the investment which she said dovetails with Vision 2030.

Ms Chingwe said the district lagged behind in terms of industrialisation and the two companies will accelerate the process, especially considering that the investments are huge and will attract more.

She noted that Rutenga’s strategic location along the Harare-Beitbridge highway and near a railway line, made the growth point an ideal centre to become an export hub for the southern parts of Zimbabwe.

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