MINISTER of Small and Medium Enterprise Elias Mubanga has encouraged SMEs to get involved in food processing, in order to curtail the trend of food wastage, especially seasonal fruits.

And Mubanga has called on anyone with innovations to engage his ministry even though they are unable to generate business proposals.

In an interview, Mubanga noted that most local fruits usually went to waste.

“We are very serious on that, even going to the extent of our wild fruits like Masuku because there is also a period when our natural resources which we have just been given by God go to waste. So in a number of things in different locations in the country we got our local fruits I mean naturally local fruits, for example Masuku, we are encouraging and we are fostering and accelerating the processing plants for things like mango fruit. There is a lot of wastage in guavas, there is a lot of wastage especially when it is season for mangos and guava. So in fact, anyone who has an idea of how to process, they are welcome to come to my ministry as quickly as possible,” Mubanga said.

And Mubanga encouraged those with innovations to engage his ministry.

“We also have five million throughout the country in each and every constituency for empowerment for youth and women. What it means is that do you have an idea of any innovation or anything you want to do in that locality, for example fish farming? Write a proposal to the local authority, to my ministry because my ministry is into each and every district in this country. We have got an officer who is working under cooperative and entrepreneurship department. Write a proposal, if you do not know how to write a proposal, go to my ministry in those respective districts, they will be able to guide the SMEs. What do you want to do with that empowerment, women would you want to get some Chigayo (hammer mill)? Write a proposal. So those are the ideas. I may not really talk about whatever they want to do because it also goes with the area in which you are in, what economic activities are usually prevailing in there? So it’s more like a tailor made kind of a thing, what you are doing in there is what we will follow and we will be able to extend our hand as government and to help our SMEs,” he said.

Mubanga advised citizens to sharpen their skills and upgrade their qualifications so that they could tap into the 60% CDF allocation towards capital projects.

“So basically, 60% of CDF is actually for capital projects like building of clinics, building of smaller feeder roads, building of schools. But the 40%, this is where I am saying it comes in marketeers. Do they want to scale up their businesses from selling tomatoes to get maybe into salaula (second hand clothes), running a small shop, from running a kantemba (kiosk), you build up a grocery? We have got a package as government and as my ministry, we got a package for almost everyone. But also, I need to say we are also encouraging people, those who want to get into upgrading their skills, we are encouraging that they must register with registered institutions so that they can scale up their capacity so that they are able to tap into the CDF. CDF basically is what is done when I say the capital project its building of schools, when you build a school you will definitely need a plumber, you will definitely need a carpenter there, you will definitely need an electrician and a fabricator to put up window frames. Also, it should be emphasised, it must be quality and that is why are trying to encourage people to get back to school,” said Mubanga.