Zim spice factory on cards

Staff Reporter

Producers of Paprika have welcomed the setting up of a spice factory in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, saying it will go a long way in ensuring that their paprika and chilli products are value added before they are sent to the market.

Speaking to this publication yesterday, a source within the Horticulture Development Council (HDC) revealed that the World Spice Exchange (Wspicex) was set to establish a spice processing plant in Beitbridge, to enable Zimbabwe paprika and chilli producers to meet the demands and requirements of international spice buyers.

“The spice processing plant was welcomed by the producers of paprika and chilli, who saw an advantage that came with the establishment.  The proximity to the market will be significantly reduced and also their products will be value added to earn them more foreign currency from exports.

“Wspicex is also developing interests in contract farming where they intend to sponsor farmers in chilli production, as such it is working with the relevant authorities to ensure that the process is above board before they can start,” said the source.

Paprika and chilli are horticultural products capable of contributing a fair amount of foreign currency to the country’s economy and to improve people’s lives.

According to source, Wspicex managed to purchase 6 500kg of paprika at US$10 050 per metric tonne valued at a total of US$63.3352 million from Kwalu, River Ranch  and Chapfuche irrigation schemes. Mwenezi with an estimate of 26 000 kg of paprika from 3 irrigation schemes is yet to be harvested.

Meanwhile, in its attempts to increase paprika and chilli yields, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (MLAFWRD) assisted 290 farmers with paprika seed, while Wspicex introduced water saving technologies such as centre pivots, sprinklers and solar systems to irrigation schemes in Beitbridge, Makoni, Mwenezi and Bulilima Districts.