President Hakainde Hichilema has officially commissioned the Kalene Hills Fruit Company fruit processing plant in Mwinilunga with a call for more factories to be opened in all 10 provinces of Zambia.
With an installed fruit processing capacity of 24,000 metric tonnes per annum, the factory is driven by the IDC’s mandate of industrialization, rural development, job creation as well as the imperative of ensuring value addition to whatever local endowment there was in an area.
Kalene Hills Fruit Company is expected to fill the nearly three decades void and facilitate Northwestern Province’s participation in the pineapple, mango, citrus and tomato value chain.
During the commissioning ceremony, President Hichilema said investment in value addition was the only way to generate wealth and increase jobs, especially in rural areas. He said with prudent use of resources, factories such as Kalene Hills could be replicated in all provinces.
IDC Acting Group CEO Mr Henry Sakala said the factory was expected to provide 150 direct jobs, over 700 indirect jobs and has so far enlisted 1,500 small and medium scale outgrowers to supply feedstock.
The IDC partnered with local institutional investors such as NAPSA and Workers Compensation Fund Control Board to finance the project while engaging local contractors for project management and on-site construction labour. Other partners such as Musika have provided additional capacity in terms of transportation and mobile fruit washing machines.