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E35m foreign exchange earnings for baby vegetables

Business Section

By Nomthandazo Nkambule - SWAZI OBSERVER-18-Aug-2010

BABY vegetable growing is envisaged to earn at least E35m in foreign exchange, provide employment opportunities and market for local vegetable farmers.

This was revealed by Zizwe Vilane, the Director for Foreign Direct Investments at the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA). According to reports sourced from the internet, SIPA is inviting interested investors to invest in baby vegetables processing.

A plant is to be set up to process fresh vegetables for export, using the IQF (individually quick frozen) technology. Vilane says the proposed plant can be established in any part of the country, where there is irrigation water and an improve roads infrastructure. Swaziland’s varied micro climates give it an advantage in producing certain high-value horticultural products such as baby vegetables.

A large small-scale farming community growing both organic and in-organic vegetables exists but currently lacks guaranteed markets. Interested investors can source produce from these farmers and process locally for export to the European Union market.

“There is available land to enable potential investors to grow a certain percentage of required inputs and also build a factory. This project is expected to earn foreign exchange, provide jobs and a guaranteed market for local vegetable farmers. “The rate of return on capital will be 29% if SIPA is providing a factory and 20.3% if it has no input,” reads the report. “There are three types of preferred investment under this opportunity. These include joint ventures, partnerships with the private sector and a 100% foreign ownership.

“Swaziland has an active farming sector and baby vegetables continue to gain an increasingly important share of the export market. The government is keen on expanding this market as well as processing vegetables locally.”

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