By Bennie Mundando
The National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) has invested a total of sixty million kwacha (K60 million) into three fruit processing factories through a short-term loan financing facility to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
The IDC is setting up the Kalene Hills Fruit Company Limited in Mwinilunga District in North-Western Province, the Eastern Tropical Fruits Company in Eastern Province and a cashew processing company in Western Province.
The financing was made towards the early stage of setting up and mobilization of the three factories.
IDC Investment Manager, Brian Nalishuwa says the factories will be processing local agricultural products ranging from pineapples, mangoes, guavas, oranges to bananas, tomatoes, cashew nuts, and groundnuts, among others, for purposes of value addition.
Mr. Nalishuwa says the products will include fruit juices, pulp, jam, concentrates, tin packed foods, mineral water, pickles, and dried snacks.
And NAPSA Director General, Yollard Kachinda has expressed delight at the investment and reiterated its importance to the local people and the nation at large.
“These factories will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs through numerous out grower schemes and they give us quality products with a strong brand that will be able to compete favorably at both local and international markets. The factories will stimulate the growth of other auxiliary local industries further bringing value to the people of the three provinces and the country as a whole,” said Mr. Kachinda.
He says the factories will provide a ready market to small-scale farmers, women, youth, retirees and other small-scale businesses as the project will act as an empowerment tool to the local community.
He says this will in turn help to improve the livelihoods of the people in general.
“The local farmers, through the out-grower schemes, will be the major suppliers of the feed stock to the factories. It is gratifying to note that the farmers have pledged their full support and are looking forward to the projects.
“NAPSA will leverage the relationship with out-grower schemes through its project unit on the Extension of Coverage to the Informal Sector to onboard the farmers and other businesses onto the scheme so that they can also be socially protected. This is in line with our mission of securing the social economic wellbeing of the people of Zambia,” he added
The fruit factories will not only boost the agro industry in the three provinces, but will also contribute to crop diversification, value addition in agribusiness and ultimately food security at regional and national levels.