By BRIAN HATYOKA -
FALLSWAY Timbers Limited, a Livingstone-based wood processing firm, is planning to diversify its business portfolio and set up a K10-million food processing plant next year.
The new line of business, which has an estimated annual production capacity of 15 million bottles of tomatoes, mango and vegetables per year, is expected to engage more than 2,000 small-scale farmers from Livingstone, Kazungula, Kalomo and Zimba.
About 60 people will be employed at the food processing plant while plans are underway to export part of the finished products to neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Angola.
Fallsway Timbers Limited group of companies chairperson Shamji Vora said his entity was in the process of putting up a food processing unit in Livingstone at a total project cost of K10 million.
Mr Vora said in an interview yesterday that the new plant would be set up in the light industrial area of Livingstone during the first quarter of 2014.
“We are expecting the plant and machinery as well as a modern building to be put by the end of February 2014 while commercial products will come on the floor by middle of May.
The beauty of this new venture is that it will involve more than 2,000 small-scale farmers from Zimba, Kalomo, Kazungula, Livingstone. We may extend the facility to Mwandi, Sesheke and Choma,” Mr Vora said.
He said the main raw materials for the plant would be tomatoes, mango,vegetables which would be processed into finished products such as tomatoes sources as well as mango juices and canned vegetables among many other products.
“We are working with Livingstone Farmers Cooperative, Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) as well as Cooperatives from Kalomo, Kazungula and Zimba.
“When the season for mangoes comes, many women will be engaged temporarily to supply mango so that they don’t go to waste but are used in processing,” he said.
Mr Vora said the plant would also develop a new product from a popular Southern Province tree known as Musuku.
“I have seen people eating Musuku but no value addition has been done to it. Musuku can be used in juice making by adding lemon and garlic and salt and make whatever taste you want to have.
“Research indicates that we can still get nutrients from Musuku and this is a new dimension we are also putting in place,” he said.