The government has teamed up with the African Development Bank to establish a vegetable and fruit processing hub at Tabudirira Vocational Training Centre in Mtoko that will see thousands of youths being employed.

Days of horticulture farmers from Mtoko dying in accidents on their way to Mbare musika or being shortchanged by middlemen, popularly known as Makoronyera, will soon be things of the past following the establishment of the fruit and vegetable processing hub.

The processing hub was established by the Ministry of Youth, Art, Sport and Recreation with its implementing partners being the African Development Bank and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“The project will contribute towards the realisation of vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy,” said Cde Yeukai Simbanegavi, the Deputy Minister of Youth, Art Sport and Recreation.

Mashonaland East Minister of State, Cde Apolonia Munzverengwi said the hub is a step in the direction as the province moves towards decentralising value addition.

“The creation of 5600 jobs across the value chain through this plant is another plus to our province as we move towards devolution and decentralising value addition,” Cde Munzverengwi said.

The programme is being implemented in phases with the first phase, which is now complete, having involved the construction of the pack house while the second phase, which is expected to start soon, will see the construction of the processing plant.

The hub will operate as a company with the youths being the major shareholders.