News Column

Zimbabwe Sugar Production Seen Improving

June 16, 2014

Regerai Pepukai

ZIMBABWE is set to produce more sugar than earlier anticipated this season.

According to the country's sole sugar milling company, production is set to improve from the projected 460 000 tonnes last year to over 500 000 tones this year.

In a statement, Tongaat Huletts, the milling firm, said the sugar milling season opened amid high expectations as the quality of the cane crop is better compared to last season because of improved rainfall.

"We are anticipating a sharp increase in the production of sugar because of the quality of the crop," said the company in a statement.

"We are expecting both new and old farmers to deliver their crops on time as milling season has opened until end of year."

Sugar production in Zimbabwe grew by about 28 percent during the 2012/2013 season as cane deliveries from both new and old farmers grew substantially.

Triangle and Hippo Valley Mills, both wholly owned by Tongaat Hullets, have a combined capacity of crushing about 4,8 million tonnes of cane annually and produce 640 000 tonnes of sugar.

Under the government's land reform programme hundreds of people among them senior civil servants and ordinary farmers took huge tracts of sugar cane plantations.

The seizures initially negatively affected sugar production in the country as the new farmers lacked the required expertise to maximise production in addition to shortage of financial resources.

With the professional and financial assistance from Tongaat Huletts and traditional sugar cane farmers now significantly contribute.

Meanwhile the sugar industry has appealed to government for protection by increasing import duty on sugar.

Currently, imported sugar is cheaper than the locally-manufactured product, a development that is threatening the local industry.

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Source: AllAfrica

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