Delays in operationalizing Kalene fruit processing plant raises concerns


The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is under scrutiny for delays in operationalizing the Kalene Fruit Processing plant in Mwinilunga, North-Western Province.

Evans Ngoma, founder of the BuyZed Campaign, highlighted that these delays are hindering job creation.

Ngoma told Zambia Monitor in Lusaka on Friday that the situation was similar to the Chitambo Cassava processing plant in Central Province and the Katete fruit processing plant in Eastern Province.

He stated that Zambians deserved transparency regarding the delays.

“Getting these factories to full production is in the best interest of the local communities where they are located,” Ngoma stated.

He criticized IDC for stalling potential job creation within the value chain due to the factories remaining idle since their commissioning.

Read More: BuyZed demands full activation of fruit processing plants in North-western and Eastern provinces

In 2022, IDC Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Henry Sakala, projected that the Kalene plant would create 150 direct jobs, over 700 indirect jobs, and engage 1,500 small and medium-scale outgrowers as suppliers.

The IDC financed the project through partnerships with local institutional investors such as NAPSA and the Workers Compensation Fund Control Board, involving local contractors for project management and construction.

Additional support came from partners like Musika, which provided transportation and mobile fruit washing machines.

During the plant’s commissioning, President Hakainde Hichilema advocated for more factories across all ten provinces of Zambia, emphasizing value addition as a key strategy for wealth generation and job creation, particularly in rural areas.

“With prudent use of resources, factories such as Kalene Hills could be replicated in all provinces,” President Hichilema had stated.

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