Citrus farming and ranching have been identified as key drivers of the Beitbridge economy and the local community is geared to be a part of it as it had been a previously predominantly a white commercial sector.

As Matabeleland South Province curve a new leaf in the economic empowerment of its people where chiefs have been recognised as the appropriate institution to champion economic revolution in rural areas, Beitbridge chiefs say citrus farming and ranching form the bedrock of their economies.

Chief Sitaudze of Beitbridge West and Chief Matibe of Beitbridge East said following the commitment by the central bank to finance their projects they are focusing on citrus and the commercialisation of ranching as the lifeblood projects for the district.

They stated that while the district has fertile soils low rainfall received in the area makes it difficult to even commercialise small grains hence the option to venture into citrus, adding that through sand abstraction water harvesting means they will be able to grow fruit trees in line with other big citrus estates to transform their economy.

Chief Sitaudze said the citrus farming will complement the juice processing plants that are mushrooming in the border town, while his counterpart said the transformation to ranching will enable locals to be a part of the livestock value chain.

Beitbridge has some of the best breeds of cattle, goats and sheep and the missing link has been the strategy to find a better market and the proposal to build an abattoir such that farmers could secure meat orders before securing slaughter services to supply the market directly.