By Alois Vinga
LISTED sugarcane processor, Hippo Valley Estates Limited, has commended engagements between government and industry which have gone a long way to sustain the sector’s viability amid refreshed hopes to tap into the potential of the Tugwe -Mukosi Dam.
The remarks come against a background where engagements in pursuit of an inclusive operating environment have been conducted since the take-off of the second republic as far back as 2018.
Presenting a trading update for the quarter ended June 30 2022, the firm’s board chairman, Canaan Dube hailed the engagements for aiding viability.
“It is also pleasing to note that the authorities are open to engagements with the industry on the key issues of duty-free imports of sugar and appropriate pricing models to ensure that the industry remains viable whilst protecting consumers,” he said.
The remarks also come amid plans by the sector to engage authorities to ensure an even competitive playing field against cheap imports of sugar originating from surplus producers who enjoy duty protection in their host countries.
“This is also in an attempt to safeguard the health of the local population as some of the sugar imported is not Vitamin A fortified, as required by law,” said Dube.
Meanwhile, the company has tabled plans to accelerate opportunities for horizontal expansion with new sugarcane projects, feeding on the Tugawe-Mukosi robust water system, mainly for the benefit of new farmers who are keen to supply the cane to the mills.
“Water supply to the Mkwasine Out-Growers is however currently constrained on account of challenges on the Siya-Manjirenji system, however there is ongoing work to attend to the issue.
“The industry is also working closely with the National Water Authority to enhance the industry water conveyancing infrastructure, to cope with the increasing farming and irrigation activities in the Lowveld,” he said.
During the period, the Zimbabwe sugar industry which is the single marketing desk at brown sugar level, administered by Zimbabwe Sugar Sales (Private) Limited (ZSS), the company’s share of the total industry sugar sales volume of 394 000 tons for the year ended 31 March 2022 was 53,2%.
Total industry sugar sales into the domestic market for the year at 356 000 tons (2021: 325 000 tons) were 10% higher than prior year.