George Maponga in Rutenga
The Second Republic is prepared to open more opportunities for talented Zimbabweans to showcase their skills through coming up with innovations that expedite the country’s rural industrialisation drive by exploiting natural resources to achieve Vision 2030 targets, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
The Head of State and Government said the Second Republic had confidence in the capacity of local talent to proffer solutions to some of the country’s challenges as Zimbabweans angled for inclusive growth that took everyone on board in all parts of the country.
Speaking during the commissioning of a Marula/Mapfura Processing and Value-Addition Factory built by the National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe at Rutenga growth point, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was already on the path of sustainable growth and socioeconomic transformation buoyed by new projects supported by local innovations.
New projects driving Government’s inclusive growth and the rural development initiative would continue to be completed timeously in line with the Second Republic’s thrust to quickly complete projects to stimulate socio-economic growth.
“Hatichina mweya wekuti tovaka totarira, tovaka totarira, kana chatinenge tatanga kuvaka tinopedzisa (We no longer have the spirit of failing to complete projects. We will finish every project we start),” said the President.
“There are many people who attained degrees in the past but they never created something tangible. They just died with their degrees but people are wondering today how this happened (Marula processing and value-addition plant).
“It is because we are giving opportunities to our people who are talented to develop our country. The Second Republic will continue to create conducive conditions for our people to innovate and produce goods and services using local resources.”
The President said the ongoing thrust to harness local talent and expertise to steer the nation towards Vision 2030 was inspired by the notion that only Zimbabweans could develop their nation using their God-given resources.
No outsiders would come and develop the country for Zimbabweans hence the Second Republic’s continuous readiness to pour funding towards research and innovation to solve challenges confronting the nation.
“Week in week out, I will be commissioning new projects that are being established by our people using local resources and recently I even presided over the launch of a locally-manufactured cough syrup and such milestone developments mean as a nation, we are on a growth trajectory while cutting imports,” he said.
President Mnangagwa called for more factories and value-addition plants to be set up in other parts of the country to process available resources.
“Our country is on an unstoppable growth trajectory. We are unstoppable because in areas where masawu are found in abundance like Mt Darwin, we will make sure factories and plants are opened for processing and value addition both for the local and export markets to earn our country the much-needed foreign currency.”
The President noted that the new thrust by his Government emanated from the realisation that only Zimbabweans could be at the forefront of building the nation.
Through rural industrialisation and infrastructural development, Government hoped to attract skilled professionals in rural areas thereby speeding up the quest to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income society by 2030.
“Our national vision of a prosperous and empowered upper middle income economy by 2030 entails uplifting the people in every part of our great country, in particular those in rural areas and growth points,” said the President.
Making of goods and services using local resources was influenced by Education 5.0 which the Second Republic was championing with very promising results.
He lauded the high work ethic exhibited in the construction of the Marula/Mapfura processing factory at Rutenga that was completed within 10 months by students from Masvingo Polytechnic and those from the Industrial and Trade Test.
This dovetailed with Government’s thrust to set up a bio-economy through the commercial application of biotechnology leveraging on the country’s natural resources.
President Mnangagwa said the processing plant would transform lives of more than 30 000 households in Mwenezi yet before this communities were struggling to eke out a living despite having such a rich and commercially exploitable resource.
The plant will produce stock feeds, edible oils and juice and a vibrant industry around those products is expected around Mwenezi district.
“That is the kind of action-oriented administration I expect from all institutions under the Second Republic. Other local authorities should therefore learn from this progressive and development-focused work ethic in line with our quest for increased rural per capital incomes,”said the President.
Government was also excited that Mwenezi was now part of the nation’s drive to stem imports and produce local goods and services in line with the import substitution strategy.
Zimbabwe, said the President, was taking a lead from world-leading economies by leveraging on their natural endowments to drive growth.
President Mnangagwa revealed that the opening of the Marula processing and value addition factory at Rutenga should inform formulation of a comprehensive Bio-Economy Strategy for the country. He said Government stood ready to assist in that line.
In his address, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga hailed the opening of the plant saying it showed that Government was following the letter and spirit of rural industrialisation.
He hailed the National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe for building the plant in Mwenezi saying it was the first of its kind in the country.
He challenged the private sector to partner Government and local authorities and establish similar ventures in other parts of the country using locally available resources.
This was also echoed by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira who said the country would continue to harness science and innovation to engender rural industrialisation.
Minister Murwira said his ministry intended to exploit every area’s comparative advantage to effect rural industrialisation via the use of science and innovation.
Preliminary indications show that the Marula Processing and Value Addition Factory at Rutenga will generate $400 million annually from processing the wild mapfura fruit.
The plant has capacity to produce 75 000 litres of concentrated mapfura juice monthly which translates to 150 000 litres of wine and 5 000 litres of high value oil per season which is an important raw material in the cosmetics sector.
It will also directly employ over 100 people and thousands more indirectly.
During the mapfura off season, the plant at Rutenga can also process other things like oranges and watermelons.
President Mnangagwa first planted a mapfura tree inside the factory’s premises before officially commissioning the plant.