The Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) is in the process of setting up tomato processing plants in four major cities of Zambia at a cost of US$6 million.
ZCF director general James Chirwa said in an interview in Lusaka that, the size of processing plants would depend on the level of production of tomatoes in particular districts and that, the products would be used for local consumption and export.
He said ZCF wanted to start the processing plants in all major cities including Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe among others by mid 2016.
Mr Chirwa said ZCF would place satellite bins in major markets where marketeers would be throwing tomatoes to waste.
“So, you can see, we will not only be adding value to the tomatoes, but we will be helping that marketeer who has been loosing money by throwing away those tomatoes.
We are now giving value to those tomatoes they throw, we will buy it as raw material to feed the processing plant,” Mr Chirwa said.
He said the federation has been taking a search with various manufacturers. One processing plant will cost $1.5 million but that is an investment worth putting money into because the returns were so high,” he said.
Mr Chirwa said the federation has since put up a concept note and that, they were about to finalise the project proposal, which would go through a vetting process to ensure it attracts funding.
He said the federation would work hand in hand with the Government, considering that, the project could empower youths in Zambia.
“We can facilitate that project to ensure youths in Zambia are absorbed within the cooperative movement,” he said.
Mr Chirwa said, that impacted positively on the women marketeers in Zambia as they would get quick turnover of tomato sales and sell more than they did before.
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