Government has allowed Zimbabwe Sugar Sales to export more sugar, amid a projected rise in sugar output this milling season.
With Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe’s mills having a combined crushing capacity of 640 000 tonnes of sugar per annum, Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Mike Bimha commended the company’s operations which are satisfying the local market every year.
In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Director for Enterprise Development in his Ministry Ms Spiwe Nyamatore at the second edition of the Lowveld Community Development Awards Dinner held on Saturday in Chiredzi, Dr Bimha said excess sugar should be exported.
He said the sugar industry made a significant contribution towards the country’s socio-economic growth, hence the reason why Government continued to protect it.
“The sugar industry in Zimbabwe is a strategic industry which makes a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the country,” he said.
“The state of the sugar industry is quite encouraging at the moment.
“The sector was one of the first to be protected under the Sugar Production and Control Act of 1963 and Statutory Instrument 6 of 2014 which removed sugar from the Open General Import Licence System.
“As at 21 December 2016, the two Tongaat Hullett Mills, Hippo Valley Estates and Triangle Limited, had produced enough sugar to meet local demand and a surplus which is now targeting foreign markets.”
Dr Bimha said he was impressed by the sugar distribution system in which all parts of the country were always adequately stocked.
He said with a projected bumper harvest this milling season, Government allowed more sugar to be exported to generate foreign currency.
“Given that the country has a projected surplus for the 2016/17 season, the ministry is allowing sugar exports in order to clear the surplus as well as to generate foreign currency,” said Dr Bimha.
“In the same vein, progress has been made in terms of finding regional export markets. Zimbabwe has supplied SunSweet brown sugar into the region. Negotiations with other East and Central African countries for supply into these markets are on-going.”
Dr Bimha commented Tongaat for quickly responding to Government’s calls to start fortification of table sugar.
“On the health front, I am pleased to note that the fortification of table sugar with Vitamin A became mandatory as of 1 July 2017,” he said. “The two Tongaat mills completed installing the infrastructure required to produce sugar fortified with Vitamin A.”