President Mnangagwa will today officially open the $2 billion Hopeville Housing Project near Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport and commission a $2 million tomato processing plant here.

Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba yesterday confirmed the programme which he said was in line with the President’s desire to foster development in the country.

“The President will be in Bulawayo focusing on two issues, one to do with housing and the other to do with a processing plant for horticultural products,” said Mr Charamba.

“If you recall, he has been emphasising the need to revive the economy and agriculture. The tomato processing project is meant to ramp up community production around horticultural products.”

He said such projects would ensure that purchasing power gets to the community level.

“The horticulture project speaks to the industrialisation goal which the President has been articulating so eloquently. The housing project speaks to the social service so that we ensure there is sufficient shelter,” said Mr Charamba.

Sondelani Ranching launched the $2 million state-of-the-art tomato processing plant for the production of tomato paste in Bulawayo in June this year.

Turning Matabeleland Green co-director Reverend Patson Netha said the plant had the capacity to process 150 tonnes or over 1,5 million tomatoes daily.

Most of the plant’s machinery was sourced from China, while other components were bought from Italy at a cost of about $1 million.

The total cost of setting up the factory is close to $2 million.

The tomato processing and canning factory is a public private partnership between Zagrinda, a company owned by Arda, the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) and a division of Schweppes Zimbabwe, Best Fruit Processors.

South Africa imports about 30 000 tonnes of tomato paste annually, while the other big importers are the Democratic Republic of Congo (16 630t), Angola (16 000t) and Namibia (1 208t).

The Hopeville Housing Project is a $2 billion upmarket satellite town spearheaded by Thompson Properties. The first stage of the project began with the servicing of residential stands whose sizes range from 500 square metres to more than 1 000 square metres.

The entire project, which can be equated to Kempton Park in South Africa, will see the construction of 20 000 plush and affluent houses.

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