by Bruce Zvandasara
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to officially open a $2 million state-of-the-art tomato processing plant for production of tomato purée in Bulawayo tomorrow.
Tomato purée is a thick, red paste or concentrate made from crushed tomato pulp that has been cooked and reduced.
The puree plant is an initiative of the Sondelani Ranch; an agro-processing business run by the Cunningham family.
The puree plant which has the capacity of processing 150 tonnes of tomatoes per day was bought in Italy with other components of the machinery being sought from different countries overseas.
President Mnangagwa has said that the country’s economic turnaround would be mainly centred on high agricultural production.
During the campaign period, President Mnangagwa visited the Bulawayo community where he promised the revival and awakening of the Industry sector in Bulawayo.
The processing of tomatoes is in line with Government’s thrust of value addition and beneficiation. It is easier to sell these tomatoes out of the country for the export market when they are processed. President Mnangagwa has vowed to oversee the beneficiation process and this explains the setting up of the plant in Zimbabwe which will create employment.
Over 300 households have benefited from the setting up of the plant which trained and capacitated them to grow tomatoes for the plant whilst the rest will be bought from other small scale farmers.