Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will today officially open the $2 billion Hopeville Housing project near the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo and commission a $2 million tomato processing plant in the city.
Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba yesterday confirmed the programme which he said is in line with the President’s mandate of fostering development in the country.
“The President will be in Bulawayo focusing on two issues, one to do with housing and the other to do with a processing plant for horticultural products,” said Mr Charamba.
“If you recall he has been emphasising the need to revive the economy and agriculture. The tomato processing project is meant to ramp up community production around horticultural products.”
He said such projects would ensure that the purchasing power gets to the community level.
“The horticulture project speaks to the industrialisation goal which the President has been articulating so eloquently. The housing project speaks to the social service so that we ensure there is sufficient shelter,” said Mr Charamba.
Sondelani Ranching launched the $2 million state-of-the-art tomato processing plant for the production of tomato paste in Bulawayo in June this year.
Turning Matabeleland Green co-director Reverend Patson Netha said the plant has the capacity to process 150 tonnes or over 1,5 million tomatoes.
Most of the plant’s machinery was sourced from China while the other components were shipped from Italy at a cost of about $1 million with the total cost of setting up the factory being close to $2 million.
The tomato processing and canning factory is a public-private partnership arrangement between Zagrinda, a company owned by Arda, the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) and a division of Schweppes Zimbabwe, Best Fruit Processors.
South Africa imports about 30 000 tonnes of tomato paste annually while the other big importers are the Democratic Republic of Congo (16 630t), Angola (16 000t) and Namibia (1 208t).
The Hopeville Housing Project is a $2 billion up-market satellite town spearheaded by Thompson Properties. The first stage of the project began with the servicing of residential stands whose size range from 500 square metres to more than 1 000 square metres.
The entire project, which can be equated to Kempton Park in neighbouring South Africa, will see the construction of 20 000 plush and affluent houses, up-market shopping malls as well as state-of-the-art recreational facilities.
The housing development will be carried out in three stages with stage one, which is estimated to cost more than $100 million, comprising homes, a shopping complex, gymnasium, library, three schools, local authority offices as well as land reserved for the construction of churches. — @thamamoe