Plans to establish a fruit and timber value addition industrial base in Chimanimani have reached an advanced stage.

So far a 100 hectare piece of land has been reserved for the huge investment project in Rusitu Valley and the Chimanimani Rural District Council  is now courting local investors to jointly kick start the project.

The local authority’s CEO, Mr Nehemiah Deure said the fruit and timber processing plants will derive maximum economic value out of the abundant fruits and timber plantations.

“The absence of the fruit and timber processing plants has negatively affected economic growth and development of Chimanimani district. So the establishment of the processing plant fits well with the government vision of ZIMASSET cluster on value addition and beneficiation. Once established, the plants will capacitate the communal fruit farmers and transform their lives,” Mr Deure added.

Farmers in the area welcomed the new development, saying it will unlock more downstream businesses.

The processing plants are expected to create market linkages for farmers and ensure realisation of full value of their abundant fruits.