The National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe, in collaboration with the Bindura University of Science Education, has already developed various products from masau fruit.

Rural industrialisation drive transforms Muzarabani

THE government is building a factory to process masau fruit at Muzarabani Growth Point, Mashonaland Central, in line with its rural industrialisation programme.

The programme seeks to develop every part of Zimbabwe and enhance the GDP and standards of living in rural areas by innovatively leveraging on locally available resources. The factory in Muzarabani will get feedstock from local farmers and harvesters of masau, which are abundant in the district.

The National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe (NBA) is implementing the project in collaboration with Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE). The university has already developed various products from masau fruit. NBA chief executive officer Deckster Savadye told the Daily News that the value adding factory was scheduled to be completed in October 2023.

“The foundation of the building is now nearing completion with the superstructure set to begin soon. The products — in the form of masau juices, yogurts, oils and vitamin c tablets — have already been developed by Bindura University of Science Education.

“We are also working with Masvingo Polytechnic to ensure that most of the equipment that will be used in the factory will be designed and fabricated in Zimbabwe,” said Savadye. The masau project, according to Savadye, will build on experience gained from the mapfura/marula value-addition factory in Mwenezi, which was commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in October last year.

“The mapfura/marula value-addition project, which is in its second season, is now a well-established rural industry. The factory is a towering industry in the small town of Rutenga in the Mwenezi District of Masvingo.

It produces several products, mainly wines and cosmetic oils. “The project has brought positive change in Mwenezi and has transformed the lives of over 1 500 households who supply the fruits to the factory during the fruit season from January to April every year.

“From the testimonies of the people, this project has already made a positive impact in the area. Livelihoods have improved,” he told the Daily News.

The NBA chief executive officer has been encouraged by the way the products from the mapfura/marula value-addition project are gaining acceptance on the market.

“The products, which are already very popular in Mwenezi, are making inroads throughout Zimbabwe. Market development is in progress, new markets in Harare and Bulawayo are currently being developed.

“Wherever the products are introduced, there is excitement and quick market acceptance. The mapfura wines can also be exported with huge interest in the region, where the wine is known as a beverage for the royals.

“Product improvement is a continuous process. With each coming season, the NBA is making improvements to the product in response to market feedback. The recent improvement is the packaging in glass bottles with a new label.

The taste of the wine itself has been improved through a new fermentation process. The mapfura/marula value-addition project has huge potential and as such new products will be released every season,” Savadye said.

Apart from the mapfura and masawu projects, NBA also broke new ground two years ago when it launched a zumbani cough syrup called Cofsol. “Cofsol was launched by the president in October 2021 and the NBA has since commercialised the product. The product, which is extremely effective against coughs and flu, is new to the market and is yet to be widely known in the market.

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