MUNUNSHI BANANA PLANTATION REAPS K19M

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Mununshi banana plantation reaps K19m harvest
THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has recorded its first banana harvest from the K19 million investment injected in revamping Mununshi Banana Estate in Luapula Province last year.
Namakau Mukelabai, IDC Head – Corporate Communications, said Mununshi Fruit Company is set to harvest 1,425 tonnes from the 47,500 banana plants planted last year.
Speaking after witnessing the start of the first harvest with tonnes of bananas destined for Lusaka, Ms. Mukelabai noted that the harvest will be done in a phased approach.
She expressed happiness that the plantation established under IDC Subsidiary Mununshi Fruit Company is living up to the Corporation’s mandate of rural industrialisation and job creation with about 48 jobs having been created.
Ms. Mukelabai said the plantation was established as part of strides to offset the then over 11,000 tonnes annual banana deficit in Zambia.
She said so far a lot of companies including some interested in exporting the bananas to the DRC have expressed interest in the uptake.
Ms. Mukelabai further revealed that the IDC is working on expanding the fruit company’s operations from the current 30 hectares banana plantation to venturing into other commercial crops like Mangoes and Avocados on the over 3-hundred hectare land.
She said the move is further expected to create more jobs for the surrounding communities.
And Mununshi Fruit Company Senior Agriculture Officer Kunda Mwelwa attributed the good banana yields with the biggest bunch weighing 40 kilograms to the training of staff on effective management of the plantation by the IDC.
Mr. Mwelwa said the revamping of the banana plantation after six years from the last harvest has had a positive impact on the surrounding communities.
He however noted that erratic power supply has posed a challenge on effective irrigation for the crops.
Among workers who have benefited are Loveness Mushota a widow who has now found it easier to educate her eight children and 55-year-old Joseph Chisala, a father of seven who appealed for fast expansion so that more people from his community can be employed.
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