Zimbabwe: Value-added plants key to rural development

Agriculture, Environment & Innovations Editor

For a long time, adding value has been part of Zimbabwe’s development language, embedded in large economic projects and short and long term goals.

But the slowness of action and implementation has drained the real sense of added value and the government’s ability to meet the aspirations of rural populations.

In short, value-added policies were wrapped in heartwarming development language full of “feel-good” rhetoric that had no practical evidence on the ground.

But now things are changing and there is a significant difference on the ground and the achievements in policies and actions on value-added plants in rural areas are getting more attention.

President Mnangagwa has commissioned a number of value-added factories in various parts of the country in recent months.

One of these factories is a fruit and vegetable processing plant that has been commissioned at the Tabudirira vocational center in Mutoko in the province of Mashonaland East. The factory was funded by the African Development Bank and offers a major relief to local farmers who will now save on transportation and accommodation costs as they travel to markets in Harare to sell their produce.

Another value-added factory was also recently commissioned in Rutenga in Masvingo province as part of efforts to empower local communities and boost rural development. The establishment of the Marula / Mapfura processing and value creation plant is widely seen as a landmark and revolutionary investment that will boost rural development.

The $ 50 million plant is expected to bring in nearly $ 400 million per season from marula / mapfura processing and value addition.

The creation of jobs and income for local communities is a major asset for value-added programs.

The Rutenga factory is expected to create more than 100 direct jobs while more than 30,000 households in rural Mwenezi will be indirectly employed providing mapfura fruit during the peak fruit season which runs from late January to April.

The plant’s products such as juices, edible oils and animal feed will be sold both locally and internationally, generating income for the locals and foreign currency for the country.

It is also encouraging that most universities in the country are also taking value-added more seriously than before, with research and work underway to create value-added factories through innovation hubs and development. industrial parks.

Added value coupled with political will and the channeling of resources is now the common thread of public action which aims to drive rural development.

The action on value added is now restoring confidence and exposing a set of policies that promote open government and initiatives aimed at establishing a renewed and healthy relationship between government and rural citizens who live in parts of the country. countries where added value has been elusive for decades.

It is heartening to note that the Second Republic promotes rural decentralization and entrepreneurship as a central force for economic growth and development.

Without the creation of value-added factories and the opening of other factories in rural areas, development will be wasted or wasted.

Written value-added policies are gaining ground and giving hope to the rural masses.

By increasing and capturing the value of locally grown and processed commodities, smallholder farmers, rural businesses and rural communities will benefit in many ways through job creation, improved livelihoods, improved livelihoods, new markets for agricultural products and stronger rural and provincial economies.

The government, in partnership with development partners, has also set up the first state-of-the-art amacimbi / madora processing plant in the Matshiloni region, Beitbridge district, southern Matabeleland.

This was added to the life-changing initiatives of the Second Republic which aim to exploit the biodiversity of the country by adding value and valorization.

The factory is equipped with modern machinery consisting of washing machine, dryer, bleaching and packing machine, sourced from China.

The AfDB has injected $ 100,000 into various value-added factories in which the ILO provides technical assistance.

Some of the value-added initiatives include amacimbi in Beitbridge, honey in Marondera and Lupane, artisanal gold ore grinding in Guruve, and horticulture in Mutasa, Chimanimani and Mutoko.

Most smallholder farmers are starting to think about how they could reorganize their operations to take advantage of value-added crops that open up new opportunities.

Expanding local processing of agricultural products has been a rural development strategy that has been gathering dust for some time.

Now Zimbabwe is heading into action with more initiatives to promote added value being explored.

These include the grinding of soybeans, the milling of flour and corn, the refining of sugar and many other products.

Companies are now located close to the source of raw materials. Today’s value-added agriculture is growing and moving in the right direction.

Value-added factories reverse the economic stagnation of many rural areas, reducing rural unemployment, helping rural areas capture a larger share of national income and creating new sources of rural competitive advantage for the future.

Rural development is today more than ever linked to entrepreneurship.

Zimbabwe must continue firmly on this path to promote rural enterprises in order to create jobs, prevent rural poverty, improve farmers’ incomes and livelihoods, promote self-reliance and reduce the need for support. social.

Above all, value-added businesses will be a vehicle for improving the quality of life of individuals, families and communities and for supporting a healthy economy and environment.

It should also inspire the country to also diversify into non-agricultural uses of available resources such as catering for tourists, blacksmithing, carpentry, art and other silver spinning businesses.

Zimbabwe is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and any effort to find ways to harness the sector so that it can effectively contribute to economic growth is welcome development.

It also extends to a diverse range of non-wood forest products, including oils, gum, waxes, edible and inedible.

However, the value of the huge stocks of forestry and no forest products that are traded in the informal sector such as mazhanje, marula, masau, baobab, natural honey, natural herbs and oils and a whole range of others plant and animal products is not known, yet it is quite significant in terms of volumes traded on the market.

And, the commission of a study on the national biodiversity economy recently by the government and its development partners is an important step for the country as it intensifies its efforts to exploit the vast opportunities that the country’s biodiversity offers. for economic growth and job creation.

For a very long time, there has been no concerted effort to understand the value of the country’s biodiversity and how it can be used to transform the economy and unleash its value for the benefit of the country.

About Keneth T. Graves

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