Lupane juice maker eyes export market

Mahlangu said the firm will work with communities to develop this niche sector.

LUPANE-based indigenous fruit juice manufacturer, Lupane Veggie Guys is eyeing the export market after successfully showcasing its indigenous products at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.

The company, which produces indigenous fruit juices and chilli, is the brainchild of Lupane State University (LSU) lecturer, Makhosi Mahlangu who is also a food designer. The firm is currently working on the modalities to export to Britain, Canada and Australia.

NewsDay understands the firm may have recently clinched a deal with a United Kingdom-based supermarket chain for the supply of its rare juices.

“Our company started in 2020 after realising that chilli was too expensive and we thought of producing our product (chilli) and the demand was too high.

“We engaged women in Lupane to start chilli production and 100 of them are now in this business.  After that we were advised by ZimTrade that we should showcase our products at this year’s ZITF," Mahlangu said.

"We realised that there are many indigenous fruits that can produce juices such as wild melder (umviyo) and birdsplum (umnyi) and we started producing value-added products for over 40 different fruit products,” he added.

Mahlangu said the firm will work with communities to develop this niche sector.

The firm’s chief executive officer is a Lupane State University student Mzingaye Tshabalala.

“We are working with shipping companies on paperwork for the transportation of our products because there is a huge demand in the diaspora market. There are enough raw materials considering that we are working with 28 wards in Lupane and we have approached schools to start nurseries for the plants. We have also engaged the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe on the conservation processes of the indigenous plants,” said Mahlangu.


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