Mashonaland East Province is using the money it received under devolution funds to establish a tomato processing factory at Tabudirira Training Centre in Mutoko, which will be used for the value addition of tomatoes into tomato sauce, puree and paste, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Senator Apollonia Munzverengwi has said.
The factory, which is expected to contribute to the province's Gross Domestic Product, will benefit horticulture farmers in the province.
Sen Munzverengwi told The Herald in an interview that the factory would be operating by the end of this year.
"There is a processing factory in Mutoko at Tabudirira Training Centre, which we have established for value addition of tomatoes into tomato sauce, puree and paste. We hope it will be running by end of this year.
"We are looking forward to establish other processing plants in areas like Murehwa, Hwedza, Beatrice where horticulture is practiced extensively. We want to increase our processing plants so that we add value to our perishable farm produce," said Sen Munzverengwi.
She said value addition of agriculture produce would boost the GDP of the province, which will grow the economy in line with President Mnangagwa's Vision 2030. Devolution funds released under the Public Sector Investment Programme were also used to construct a number of dams which will be used for irrigation, with some almost complete.
"We also have a number of dams which are under construction. Causeway Dam is one of them and it will be complete by end of October. Hopefully with the anticipated good rains this year our dam will be full. On completion, the dam will have capacity to hold 26 million cubic metres of water.
"We are planning on establishing 360 hectares of land surrounding Causeway Dam to go under irrigation and boost the production in that area, especially the crops which will benefit our province in terms of food security."
Chivhu Dam is also under construction and is expected to boost water supply to Chivhu town and farmers in that area.
The dam is likely to be commissioned next year.
"Downstream there would be an irrigation scheme while the other side will encompass tourism facilities. We want people to come and spend holidays there.
"Kunzvi Dam is on the cards, though it will benefit northern suburbs in Harare, but we are trying to see if we can establish irrigation schemes. This will benefit about 1 500 villagers surrounding the dam," said Sen Munzverengwi.
She said there were plans to upgrade the pipeline from Wenimbi Dam to Marondera to resolve the water challenges being experienced in the town.
"In Marondera, we are experiencing challenges in water distribution. Our taps have gone for years without water.
"We have engaged Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to come up with a plan to upgrade the pipeline from Wenimbi Dam to Marondera. We want to decommission Rufaro Dam since the water is not safe for human consumption. The Ministry of Local Government will assist to upgrade the pipeline from Wenimbi Dam to Marondera," she said.
Devolution funds have also been used to build schools, clinics and drill boreholes in various districts.
Turning to the mining sector, the minister said there were plans to establish a gold processing centre in Makaha, Mutoko.