Oliver Kazunga, Senior Reporter
THE Zanu-PF Diaspora Youth League is set to launch its fruit tree orchard project during the party’s Annual People’s Conference to be held in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East this month.The fruit orchard programme, which after the launch will be taken to other schools across the country, seeks to promote entrepreneurship as well as a balanced diet among school children.
Speaking by telephone from his South Africa base, Cde Gibson Karimakuenda, who is the party’s Cape Town district youth league chairman, said the fruit tree orchard programme will be launched during the people’s conference to be held from December 10 to 15.
“We are targeting to plant 400 fruit trees at Goromonzi High School, the venue of the conference. By the time the conference begins, we would have planted the trees. So far, what I can confirm is that 300 of those trees that range from guava, avocado, mango, peach, apple, among others have already been paid for at Family and Friends of Rivers and Lakes in Zimbabwe, a local company supplying the trees.
“The fruit tree orchard programme will be launched during our Annual National People’s Conference,” he said.
The whole idea of the project is to promote entrepreneurship across schools dotted across the country and the fruits can be exported to countries such as China to earn foreign currency.
“The essence of coming up with such a project is to promote entrepreneurship in local schools. For example, in countries such as China, fruits like guavas are in high demand to produce fruit juice; so schools can export fruits to such markets and earn foreign currency,” he said.
Cde Karimakuenda said their project was in sync with Vision 2030 which seeks to make Zimbabwe attain an upper middle-income economy through employment creation and foreign currency generation. “School children can also eat the fruits from their orchards just to maintain a balanced diet,” said Cde Karimakuenda.
He said the orchard project was a brainchild of one of their colleagues Cde Kudzai Makuku who is a member of the Zanu-PF United Kingdom/EU Youth League.
“Cde Makuku is the one who mooted the idea of the project that we have all embraced as the party’s diaspora youth league involving all the branches across the world,” said Cde Karimakuenda.
He said the Zanu-PF National Youth League was also working with their diaspora counterparts to ensure the project succeeds.Meanwhile, the country’s trade development and export promotion agency, ZimTrade, has stressed the critical role played by the horticulture sector in economic development.
It projects that the horticulture sector is set to contribute 10 percent of the country’s total export earnings in the near future riding on anticipated rise in demand from new markets across the globe.In 2018 horticultural exports recorded more than US$112 million compared to US$50,9 million earnings in 2017.
Exporters believe the jump in exports was driven partly by the supply of produce the country was previously not exporting. — @okazunga.