In an era of devolution, Chipinge is poised for growth as a district because there are a lot of natural resources and the human element is very well represented as plenty of graduates in agriculture, engineering, building, nursing, teaching, governance are found within the confines of the district which is one of the seven localities found in Manicaland, the gateway to the east and the sea as.
Plantations permeate the life and soul of the district while Silverstream, Smaldeel, Mooiplaats, Chirinda and Ngungunyana Forests are the pride of the district, and thousands of people are employed in those plantations and their economic impact is huge but there is more to be extracted from the plantation if proper planning is enhanced by both the private and public sectors.
A forester, Mr Trust Mlambo, said it is the bane of African economies that extractive industries remain like that decades after independence; there is no value addition and the country will remain a low class economy even as education standards soar.
‘’Chipinge has a minimum of six estates which are involved in plantation agriculture. Some of these companies sit back and relax thinking that they have arrived but nothing is further from the truth.
As long as we are happy with sending raw exports to neighboring countries, our chances of raising the bar to a middle class economy may remain a pipe dream”.
Some analysts believe that Chipinge and Checheche could grow into big towns provided industry develops there which harness the available resources. With that in mind, there is ample need to have some form of linkages between the public and private sectors.
Mr Lloyd Mhlanga an agriculture expert said investment in value addition on agricultural produce would see Chipinge employing a lot of people, making the sleeping economic giant take its place in the development of the country and .
He further added that, ‘’coffee used to be grown in Chipinge, Macadamia nuts growing is in vogue and we sell the nuts in raw form yet there is more money to be realized if we have industries specializing in value addition.
-Electricity can be generated from sugar cane, irrigation can empower a lot of people in the valley as the whole area from Kondo to Jack Quinton Bridge is made green with sugar cane, wheat, maize and other crops which are destined for the export market-.
For how long should those people rely on food handouts when irrigation could change their lives?’’
Chikore and Mount Selinda areas are in natural region 1 where rainfall is abundant and the soils allow orchards to bloom. Ngaone is also in region 1 and fruits and potatoes do well in that area, but the challenge is the inaccessible roads which link them with Chipinge town.
It is a herculean task to transport avocado pears, sweet potatoes, pine apples, guavas, yams and maize to markets as the roads are muddy, dusty and hardly allow trucks to get there and apart from areas including Harare, Buhera District is part of the beneficiaries of Chipinge Produce.
A local industry which makes flour out of bananas is required and that would render banana growing very lucrative. Gone will be the days when the juicy fruit rot on its way to Chiredzi, Masvingo or Gweru. Bread made from bananas and macadamia is set to enhance food security in households and at the same instant harness the rich agriculture crop from the district.
Instead of moving timber to Harare and other foreign destinations, a beneficiation factory can be initiated in Chipinge town with the result that a booming furniture industry and pole making venture can be done close by.
Chipinge is agriculture based and it should benefit from its natural resources, significantly, there is a likelihood of minerals as the district borders Chimanimani and Buhera where there were diamond sightings.
With that possibility there could be a boom in the economy fed off from utilizing the district’s God given resources.
2020 brings forth glad tidings for Chipinge- The Custodian