ZANZIBAR-- The Zanzibar State Trading Corporation has signed a 10-year investment deal with a Chinese company, Kunshan Asia Aroma Corporation Ltd, to renovate its Pemba-based essential oil distillery.

Zanzibar Trade and Industries Minister Amina Salum Ali, who attended the signing of the agreement between the two sides here Monday, hailed the deal as a landmark step towards realising the islands' industrial dream. It's a special and very significant day for Zanzibar and Zanzibaris," she said.

"We're very excited to secure a good market for our oil products and a reliable investor to revive the Pemba essential oil distillery.

The deal seeks to transform the distillery in the suburb of Machomane in Chake Chake, with Zanzibar also set to benefit from imported skills and technology to increase production of Zanzibar oils.

The minister said the deal will open up more job opportunities to Zanzibaris along the production and value added chain, adding that once the distillery is operating at full capacity, the ZSTC-run business will boost Zanzibar's economy.

The industry will use agricultural raw materials and this will certainly boost the agricultural sector and increase farmers' incomes, she said, adding that Zanzibar and other African nations boast massive resources but fail to utilise the God-given resources and exploit export markets.

She said the envisaged renovation and expansion of the clove industry demonstrates the government's ambition to propel the country towards an industrial economy as envisioned in the Zanzibar Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, MKUZA III.

ZSTC Director Dr Said Seif Mzee and Chairman of Kunshan Asia Aroma Corporation Ltd, Mr John Zhou inked the deal which will see the Chinese firm injecting five million US dollars initially to install new machineries capable of producing two varieties of essential oils simultaneously.

According, to Dr Mzee, currently the facility can produce only one type of oil. While it's popular for turning clove stems into essential oil, the industry occasionally produce eucalyptus, cinnamon and lemongrass oils.