Fungai Lupande-Business Reporter
CIT-CHEM Packshed, a Mvurwi-based fruit packaging company, is exporting 100 000 cartoons of citrus fruits annually to countries in the Middle and Far East.
This development bears testimony to how the national export strategy, in line with the National Development Strategy 1(2021-205), which is the Government’s medium term economic plan, is bearing fruits.
CIT-CHEM Packshed is exporting oranges, lemons and naartjies and the company is striving to penetrate the Chinese market.
Cit-Chem technical director Mr Ian Waters said his company was receiving fruits from farms in Concession, Mazowe, Guruve, Foresters Estates and in Marondera.
The fruits are then processed at the plant and the first and second grade are packaged for export.
Mr Waters said the third grade fruits go to the local market as fish food while the fourth grade produce is used for production of juices.
“Our market is mainly the Middle and Far East into countries like Singapore and Hong Kong. We are trying to penetrate the Chinese market,” he said.
“We need more fruits because the scale for production is key in lowering our cost. One of our challenges is that our main machinery is old, it was bought in 1998. The machine is now obsolete and there are no more spares for it. We are sourcing for US$400 000 to purchase another machine from China.”
As a way of empowering women, the pack shed employees have 115 seasonal workers who are all women and 10 permanent workers.
Mr Waters said they have plans to have several out growers from small scale holder farmers who will supply it with fruits.
The Negomo irrigation scheme has been approached to supply Mvurwi Packshed. Currently Cit-Chem has no plantation of its own and they have appealed to the Government for land.
Mr Davies Marapira, who was recently reasdigned to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, who visited the plant recently, expressed appreciation over the horticultural projects and said the initiative was assisting the country in forex generation.
Prior to his transfer Mr Marapira was the Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet In Charge of Monitoring the Implementation of Special Agricultural and Related programmes.
Mr Marapira urged the company to involve small holder farmers as the country creates an upper middle class economy.
“I urged CIT-CHEM to leave no one behind by training Negomo irrigation farmers on citrus fruit production,” he said.
“Export is important in supporting the vision of His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.”
Mr Marapira advised the provincial leadership to take the project seriously in order to improve the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and create employment.
The Mvurwi District information officer, Mr Godfrey Chireru commended Mvurwi Packshed for creating employment and providing a source of income for a number of people.
“The establishment of more citrus plantations by small holder farmers and Cit-Chem will be a step ahead towards achieving 80 percent employment rate as outlined by NDS 1, hence eradicating poverty,” he said.