Story by Kenias Chivuzhe, Manicaland Bureau
THE construction of an automated juice manufacturing plant at Mutare Teachers College is nearing completion with the plant expected to be operational by June this year.
The drive by the government to industrialise the economy is on track, with the construction of a juice manufacturing plant at Mutare Teachers College among the Second Republic’s milestone achievements.
What makes the project unique is that it is being implemented by students under the Education 5.0 initiative.
“We are constructing this baobab plant and as students, we are gaining a lot of experience here. This will help us to start our own companies in the future,” said a student.
“We were given the chance to construct this baobab plant and we are excited to be accorded this opportunity. This gives us the requisite experience that improves our competence as professionals. This will empower us as women who have ventured into construction,” added another grateful student.
Mutare Teachers College’s Food Science lecturer, Mr. Jabuliso Ncube says the 125 000 United States dollar plant has the capacity to produce 2000 liters of Baobab juice per hour.
“This plant was purchased for the college by the Ministry of High and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development as part of the empowerment programme under the education 5.0 model,” he said.
“The ministry purchased this plant from China for us at a value of 125 000 united states dollars. The plant is meant to produce bottled water, and fruit Juices in various varieties. The first on the list is the Baobab fruit Juice.”
“The plant has a capacity of 2000 litres per hour and can also process other fruits including our Indigenous fruits such as Matamba, Mazhanje as well as locally available fruits including Pineapples, Guavas, Mangoes, and even Oranges,” he added.
The plant is expected to be operational by mid-June this year.
“We are almost at the end in terms of constructing the factory and we are about 90 percent complete. The major impact of this project is that it is going to benefit downstream communities,” noted Mutare Teachers College Principal Mr. Abson Mutubuki.
“Initially it was meant to be only a baobab juice plant but looking at the environment around us it later came out that we need to be able to make juices from a wide range of Indigenous fruits.”
“It is a versatile kind of equipment and we are very happy that we are going to empower a large section of communities where we draw the raw materials from. According to the projection, this plant is supposed to be launched on the first of May but we expect it to be complete by mid-June if the funds to complete it are released on time,” he added.
Engagements between Mutare Teachers College and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe have seen an inspection being carried out to ensure the plant and the juice meet quality standards.