Toppick Investments, a wholly Zimbabwean owned company, has ploughed US$5,5 million into irrigation infrastructure for the highly integrated Zhovhe Farm 83km west of Beitbridge town.
Managing director Mrs Saliwe Marema told stakeholders during a recent tour of the farm by the Minister of State in charge of monitoring and implementation of special agriculture and related programmes Davis Marapira, that his company has so far constructed a 7km pipeline to their new citrus project.
In addition the investment has seen 68 000 orange trees imported and now being planted with the company planning to increase the number, in phases, to 277 000 trees.
“We are planting 68 000 trees and have so far constructed a 7km water pipeline from Zhovhe dam to the farm. This will feed our orange orchard and the irrigation pivots on the winter, maize, soya beans sections.
“In addition to the pipeline we have since 2015 acquired 17 irrigation pivots which have come in handy during our last wheat and maize crops planted under the command agriculture element,” said Mrs Marema.
She said the company had also invested in fish farming, livestock production focusing on goats, sheep, poultry, cattle, and a processing plant for most crops and products from the farm.
The firm is looking at reaping rewards from the citrus products in the next five years.
Mrs Marema said in the long term, Toppick was considering diversifying to the production of dairy cattle and related products.
“The market for citrus is big in the country and our aim is to produce for the local and export market,” she said.
Mrs Marema said since the beginning of operations around 2014, Toppick had invested US$15 million in various businesses across the country, including the integrated farm, two lodges, three service stations, two funeral parlours and various corporate social responsibility activities.
The company plans to construct a clinic in the Whunga area.
Speaking during the same event, the organisation’s chief operations officer Mr John Mudau, said the firm had employed over 200 people from Beitbridge district and more would be hired to take care of the citrus plantation.
“We are running an integrated farm with over 1 000 cattle, 400 goats (Boer and Matabele breeds), 500 sheep, 24 floating cages with the capacity to carry 2,4 million fingerlings of fish, and 1 500 Sasso chicken,” said Mr Mudau.
“In the last two farming seasons, we managed to deliver 1 200 tonnes of wheat and 800 tonnes of maize to the Grain Marketing Board. We are hoping that with the aid of the new irrigation infrastructure, in the next farming season we will have even bigger yields.”