Chinese firm, China CAMC Engineering, has announced plans to revive operations at Arda Mushumbi Pools Estate in Mashonaland Central by investing $200 million to develop irrigation over the next five years.
China CAMC Engineering Zimbabwe country representative Mr Wang Kailong said his company had sealed the deal with the Agricultural Rural Development Authority to resuscitate the estate subject to approval by Government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
Speaking on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of a sewer upgrade MoU between the Chinese firm and Masvingo City Council on Thursday, Mr Kailong said China CAMC Engineering was committed to helping the revival of agriculture in Zimbabwe.
He said his company wanted to build a dam at Arda Mushumbi Pools that would irrigate about 1 000 hectares. Mr Kailong said China CAMC Engineering would also set up a cotton ginnery and a fruit canning plant at Mushumbi.
“We have already signed a contract with Arda for us to build a dam, a cotton ginnery and a fruit canning plant at Mushumbi Pools where we want to put about 1 000 hectares under irrigation over the next five years if Government approves the deal,’’ he said.
“The dam that we intend to build will also have the capacity to generate about 15 megawatts of electricity that will provide power to the ginnery and canning plant that we want to set up at Mushumbi Pools.’’
Mr Kailong said his company will source funding for the Arda Mushumbi Pools project from Chinese banks. “The total capital outlay for our Arda Mushumbi Pools project is $195 million and Chinese financial institutions have already indicated their readiness to provide us with loans,’’ said Mr Kailong.
He said that about 3 300 out-growers around the Arda Mushumbi Pools estate will benefit as they will be contracted to supply cotton for the ginnery that will be set up.
Mr Kailong said China CAMC Engineering was actively involved in the drive to revive Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, with the firm having already supplied Zimbabwe with agricultural machinery such as tractors, combine harvesters and other implements worth about $58 million since 2002.
Government is trying to resuscitate operations at all idle Arda estates dotted around the country by courting investors to boost production in line with the Zim-Asset economic blueprint projections.