The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and an investing partner are set to establish a 250 hectare pecan nut plantation which will make Matabeleland North province the centre for pecan nut production.

The first phase of the project to be implemented at ARDA Balu Estate in Umguza will see the planting of pecan plants amounting to around 10 000 on a land covering 100 hectares, while phase two will be executed on a land of about 150 hectares.

The investor, Dr Jeremy Hubert said planting on what will be Zimbabwe’s biggest pecan nut plantation will commence soon.

“The first phase will see the planting of around 10 000 plants on a land amounting to 100 hectares and we will also expand the project next year which will be the second phase of the project,” he said.

ARDA Board Chairperson, Mr Basil Nyabadza said Matabeleland North Province will be transformed into a centre for pecan nut production.

“This is a confirmation that the investors have confidence in the future of our country especially the drive to bring value to our resources as an entity,” he said.

ARDA is also in partnership with a local investor, Mr Ashton Ndlovu, who is sunning a livestock project on the same estate with a 500 herd of cattle.

“The project is doing well and we have seen substantial growth over the past four years with our herd of cattle now standing on 500,” Mr Ndlovu said.

Demand for pecan nuts on the international market has been high over the past few years and South Africa is one of the biggest producers of pecan nuts on the continent.