A local company, AguaGIS Consult Limited (AquaGIS), is targeting to invest over K33 million in an Avocado, Mango and Pawpaw tree planting project in Vubwi District of Eastern Province.
AquaGIS Managing Director Eng. Lytone Kanowa said the trees will be planted under Avocado and other Fruits Project (AFP).
Eng. Kanowa said that the project will be run as an out grower scheme. “The AFP will run as an outgrower schemer and currently we have engaged 199 farmers,” he said.
“In the first phase of this project, 120,400 Avocados, 20,000 Mangoes and 13,600 pawpaw trees will be planted on 395 hectares of land,” Said Kanowa.
He also said that, “the total investment cost of the project in the first six years, starting in 2019 will be K33,627,520.”
AFP plans to sell fresh fruits and also add value through processing to increase demand and profitability.
Mr. Kanowa said that Zambia remains a net importer of tropical fruits despite the climate being conducive for the country to grow own fruits and export fruit products.
“The project will exploit the market opportunities available in the fruits supply chain to achieve it’s goals and promote small scale farmers productive participation in the production of the fruit while afforesting the deforested areas.” He said.
Eng. Kanowa said that the project had received overwhelming government support in the District and he was optimistic that it will succeed so that it could be replicated to other districts across the country.
“Am glad to inform you that AFP has received full government support in Vubwi District, the District Commissioner Ms. Eneless Banda and her District Administrative Officer Mr. Musterd Phiri have been so supportive. Mr. Phiri recently flagged off the grafting of more than 20, 000 Avocado trees at our nursery in Zozwe area, that shows you their commitment to this project.” he said.