Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
AT least two investors have expressed interest in aquaculture in Binga as officials seek to lure more business partners.
Binga Rural District Council chief executive officer Mr Joshua Muzamba said the local authority was on a drive to market the district as an investment destination focusing mostly on the existence of aqua farming opportunities.
“We have been talking and marketing ourselves as a destination where crocodile farmers can actually locate themselves and we are happy to see the expansion of the (Binga) Crocodile Farm, which is going on. We also had two serious indications of investors who want to put up crocodile farms in the district. We have also been marketing ourselves as a destination for aquaculture for people who want to do fish farming around the district,” said Mr Muzamba.
Binga Crocodile Farm has acquired an additional 10 hectares of land to create more space for over 40 000 reptiles to improve the quality of the meat and skins for local and overseas markets. Binga Crocodile Farm is one of the major employers in Binga with about 200 workers and due to the expansion projects presently being undertaken, employment at the farm is set to increase by 10 percent.
It exports most of its products to Belgium and Singapore while Namibia is its lucrative market for its crocodile meat. Another local company, Malala Wildlife Private Limited has started constructing infrastructure for breeding crocodiles, becoming the second largest alligator sanctuary in the district.
Malala Wildlife’s project area covers an area of approximately 24 hectares and consists of a pond area, a dry basking area and feeding areas.
Mr Muzamba said as part of intensifying efforts to market a plethora of investment opportunities which exist in the district, the local authority had created a website.
“We have also been marketing ourselves as a tourist destination and have been talking about ourselves as being a destination for mining ventures. We have large coal deposits in the district and we also have gas deposits on the border with Lupane District so we market ourselves as an economic investment destination. We have created a website which we are also developing to ensure that we are able to market our district internationally,” he said.
Mr Muzamba said as part of promoting its tourism sector, the local authority came up with a strategic plan last year.
“We have a strategic plan which actually prioritises the development of tourism from 2016 to 2020. We also have plans to participate at tourism enhancement expos like agricultural shows as well as the Sanganai/Hlanganani while we intend to participate in the ZITF (Zimbabwe International Trade Fair) next year,” he said.
Mr Muzamba said the district’s tourism attractions and hospitality service providers have a significant contribution to the local authority’s coffers.
“We do derive income from the lodges when tourists visit and pay to the lodges, the lodges also pays council for operating within our confines. As a local authority we may not realise income directly but the communities around us do because the tourism activities actually create employment. We have people who come here for water safari handling, sports fishing and so on and these people actually employ local labour as they carry out their economic activities as well,” he said.@DNsingo