President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on Thursday expected to commission the Tabudirira Fruit and Vegetable Processing Hub in Mutoko, a project which is aimed at empowering youths and promote value addition.
Through the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, the hub was funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) with the International Labour Organisation as its technical partner.
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Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution responsible for Mashonaland East Province, Apolonia Munzverengwi, confirmed the expected visit by Mnangagwa. She said:
All is now in place for his arrival tomorrow (today) for the commissioning of the Fruit and Vegetable Processing Hub.
Mutoko is a horticultural district full of vegetables and fruits and these have in the past, been sent to Harare but our community now is going to benefit through the processing plant here at Tabudirira Vocational Training Centre.
Deputy Director responsible for Communications and Advocacy for the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Ranson Madzamba, said the processing hub seeks to create employment opportunities for youths along the agro-processing value chain. He said:
It seeks to facilitate the creation of markets and market linkage for fruits and vegetables produced by young farmers in Mashonaland East.
The hub shall increase income levels for young farmers in Mutoko District and Mashonaland East at large.
The creation of the hub will definitely reduce post-harvest losses in the horticulture sub-sector.
The project has established a company, Mutoko Royal Fruits and Veggies jointly owned by the farmers who hold 60 per cent shareholding and Government 40 per cent.
Of the Government shareholding, the local vocational training centre holds 10 per cent.
The 60 per cent shareholding of youth and women private business corporations is held by three entities, Green Set Horticulture, Kubatana Tomato Production and Chiruka Mari Horticulture. Each has 20 per cent shares.