Lovemore Chikova Assistant Editor
Giant Indian distilling firm, the NV Group, is investing US$250 million in a brewery in Masvingo, a project expected to be fully functional in the next one and half years, employing at least 4 000 people.
The brewery will be established at Magudu Estate in Chiredzi that is owned by the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA), and its processing will be powered by crops produced by ARDA at that estate
Irrigation schemes and rural farmers will be contracted by ARDA for market-led production, as this dovetails into the authority’s rural development and industrialisation mandate for Vision 2030 attainment.
NV Group officials signed the deal with ARDA on Monday, with some of its staff already in Zimbabwe for the project.
ARDA will produce sugarcane, barley and red sorghum under a contract farming arrangement as feedstock for the brewery operation.
ARDA will also establish a joint venture with NV Group on value addition.
Speaking after signing the deal, ARDA chief executive, Mr Tinotenda Mhiko, said it was a game changer on the authority’s new thrust and mandate.
“The deal will drive rural development and industrialisation of rural irrigation scheme farmers and other small-scale farmers who will participate in market-led contract farming,” he said.
“This will move our rural farmers from subsistence farming to surplus oriented farming. Furthermore, the deal dovetails into ARDA’s mandate of ensuring national food, feed, fibre, biofuels and seed security as 4 000 hectares will be established to provide feedstock for the agro-processing plant.”
NV Group chief executive, Mr Varun Jain, said they would make sure the deal was successful.
“Congratulations for the signing yesterday (Monday), it was brilliant and we will make sure ARDA and NV happens as soon as possible in Zimbabwe,” he said. “Things have really materialised for us, investing US$250 million in Zimbabwe where we will be employing around 3 000 to 4 000 employees.
“We have the land given to us by ARDA plus the other 5 000 hectares which the local farmers are farming for us. That, of course, gives a lot of employment in the chain reaction down the line.
“This will be really beneficial for everybody and through revenue generation for the State. Thank you so much again for the opportunity and we are looking forward to start work.”
ARDA recently completed its rebranding exercise that has helped the authority re-align its work with the developmental aspirations being pursued by the New Dispensation.
With this rebranding, ARDA is going back to basics, ensuring that it carries the mandate that will empower people in rural areas to fight poverty through modernisation and industrialisation of the areas.
Rural farmers have always struggled getting markets for their produce, but ARDA has started to facilitate transformative linkages for funding and marketing of produce from the rural irrigation schemes.
This latest deal with NV Group falls into this category where rural farmers will benefit through providing their produce for distilling at the brewery.
NV Group is one of the largest grain spirit distillers in India and has added an impressive alcoholic beverages bouquet in its portfolio during the 25 years of its existence.
It has become a pioneer in the industry, presenting the finest blends that are irresistibly smooth and mellow, such as Smoke Lab Vodka, Royal Envy, Blue Moon, among others.
NV Group has a long-term business association with groups such as Pernod Ricard India, Bacardi and Cutty Sark.
The group also supplies international markets like the United States, Singapore, The UAE, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Bahrain and Zambia.