(ZANIS)-The Kalene Hills Fruit Company in Mwinilunga District in North-Western province is this week expected to commence production of water and pineapple juice.
Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) Head of Investment, Brian Nalishuwa, said this follows the complete optimisation of the factory equipment and securing of requisite inputs to commence production.
Mr Nalishuwa disclosed the development during an engagement meeting with pineapple farmers in Mwinilunga and Ikeleng’i Districts.
He said with support from government, IDC has resolved most of the challenges that led to the delay in commencing production after the commissioning of the plant in July, 2022 by President Hakainde Hichilema.
“We are delighted to inform you that at least we have finally managed to sort out all the problems that we had on the plant and this is just about the time that we want to get into operations,” Mr Nalishuwa said.
He disclosed that 400 local people are expected to be employed at the factory as production hits peak capacity going into the third year of operations.
And speaking during the same meeting, Kalene Hills Fruit Company General Manager, Wilson Sunga, said the firm has created partnerships with entities such as Vision Fund to empower farmers in the out grower schemes with financial literacy and micro loans.
“So Vision Fund will be there to extend micro loans in form of fertilisers and in form of irrigation system to you the farmers,” he said.
Mr Sunga added that apart from the direct jobs, the factory, through the out grower schemes, will create between 6,000 and 10,000 indirect jobs at full operation.
And Atlasmara Mwinilunga Branch Manager, Roosevelt Chilowa, said the bank is ready to provide all the necessary financial and banking services to the farmers.
Meanwhile, pineapple farmers from both districts have expressed happiness with the announcement by Kalene factory to commence production.
Bezel Chinyama from Ikeleng’i bemoaned the lack of market for pineapples which he said have been going to waste due to lack of market.
Mr Chinyama observed that the commencement of the factory will address challenge of lack of market and encourage more farmers to expand their hectarage.
“Our pineapples have been going to waste because we had nowhere to sell them, we were even afraid of increasing our production,” he said.
Kalene Hills Fruit Factory was commissioned by President Hakainde Hichilema on July 27, 2022.