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Tongaat sugar production to increase to 400 000 tonnes

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Tongaat sugar production to increase to 400 000 tonnes

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ELLEN MLAMBO
MIRROR REPORTER

CHIREDZI – Tongaat Hulett is predicting sugar production of between 395 000 and 400 000 tonnes which is an increase of about 8% of 2023 production.
Last year Tongaat produced 370 000 tonnes of sugar.
This was said by Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates managing director, Tendai Masawi during a media tour of the company’s operations last week.
The increase is attributed to operations recovery from production challenges.
The production covers Zimbabwe’s total demand of 300 000 tonnes a year, leaving the remainder for export.
Masawi said that the local market was last year flooded by sugar imports.
This would be reversed as Tongaat intensify production and prioritise local supply of sugar. He said Tongaat could not meet local demand as it also concentrated on the export market to generate foreign currency for procurement of spares for refurbishment of mills.
The company requires about US$20 million to procure spares for its two mills in the Lowveld. The company has since fully repaired its mills and now faces the future with confidence and will continue to meet obligations to the European and American markets.
Tongaat Hulett comprises of two units, Triangle Limited and Hippo Valley Estates Limited which are running two mills.
He said that there were recurrent mill breakdowns which significantly affected production.
“Last year we had mill breakdowns and we ended up having carry-over cane because our mills couldn’t finish crashing all the cane that was grown by out grower farmers and ourselves. We had to close our mills in December because once we approach the rain season, it’s not easy for us to continue crushing because the fields will not be accessible.
“We managed to repair our mills and they are now in good condition. Our plan for this year is to ensure that we process each and every standing cane that is ready for crashing and we are hoping to finish the fields before the onset of the rain season.
“Our priority is to maximise supply to the domestic market. Last year we were flooded with imports that ended up taking part of our market. This was not our fault. We want to ensure that the product is available in each and every corner of the country,” he said.

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