A US$140 million first-ever Eastern Tropical Fruit plant is scheduled to be commissioned next month/
The factory to be situated in Katete, Eastern Province is expected bring about value addition to the citrus fruits grown by farmers in the district and beyond.
Katete District Commissioner Joseph Makukula disclosed this development to Zanis in Lusaka.
Once operational, the plant projected to create over 170 direct jobs.
“Zambia has been depending on fruits and fruit Juices imported from South Africa. The plant is strategic in terms of proximity to fruit farms behind the nearby Mphangwe hills and all farmers as well as residents are excited about the development,” he said.
And citrus farmers in the district whose fields are behind Mphangwe Hills said government has answered their call which has been unanswered for over Fifty years.
Florence Moyo, a citrus farmer with over Nine Thousand orange plants said the coming in of the plant will expand their businesses.
She explained that customers have been buying her fruits at a low price due to lack of market which was not in tandem with the cost of production.
“We are excited as citrus farmers and this goes to show how much government cares about us. The plant will also lead to increased productivity and profitability since will be supplying the fruits to the local plant,” she said.
Katete has several citrus farmers whose customers have largely been the travelling members of the general public.