Communities in and around Rutenga Growth point in Mwenezi this year reaped huge cash dividends from the marula or mapfura fruit ubiquitous in the arid district after they sold a record 1 100 tonnes of the fruit that is a key raw material for a processing and beneficiation plant commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Oct 2021.

The factory had an initial target to buy only 200 tonnes of the fruit in its first year of operation from the rural Mwenezi heartland and neighbouring Chivi.

The plant was built by the National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe (NBA) at Rutenga Growth Point Mwenezi district in Masvingo Province.

Amarula (Shona name Mapfura) plant is expected to support rural industrialisation as it will create employment for locals, 100 directly and 30 000 indirectly, according to the NBA website.

The locals will collect the fruit which is available between January and April and deliver it to the plant.

This is in line with the NDS1’s agenda and dedicated collective efforts by all stakeholders which will see a massive economic growth

The plant will process and add value to the fruit by making wine, edible oils, stock feed and juices. These products will be consumed by both the local and foreign market.

The NBA is an autonomous research body under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.

Its visionto be “a hub for the development and safe application of biotechnology in all key socio-economic sectors by 2030.