The K160 million Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) Eastern Tropical Fruit processing plant under construction in Katete District of Eastern Province is set for commissioning in the third quarter of 2022.
The fruit process plant is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between governments through the IDC with 70 percent shares while Vitaplus Foods Limited, a Zambian company holds 30 percent shares.
Eastern Tropical Fruits Limited General Manager Gaston Phiri disclosed that the company is currently installing machinery at the factory.
He explained that testing of the remaining works together with product testing will be completed within the next month and that the commissioning is expected no later than August this year.
“We have put up speed, we have got some technicians that are helping us with the fitting of the plant. By next month they should be done and after that, we are going to conduct product testing so that we test the machinery,” he explained
Mr Phiri told ZANIS that his institution was looking forward to positive sound partnerships with the various stakeholders who will be supplying the feedstock and other commodities to the factory.
The factory was set for commissioning in October 2020 and later postponed to May 2021, due to delays in the arrival of factory equipment as well as the COVID-19 restrictions that were instituted in various countries
Mr. Phiri said the project has two major benefits that include employment creation and uptake of produce from farmers in the district and beyond.
The initial scoping of the project was to engage 200 workers, benefit about 8,000 farmers and 500 shop owners who will be dealing in the products the plant will be producing.