Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Sugarcane farmers here are looking forward to receiving their initial payments in foreign currency this month as part of Government’s thrust on export incentivisation.
Most farmers are in high spirits after indications that Tongaat Huletts Zimbabwe had exported all the sugar produced in the last farming season. The sugar milling giant is said to have cleared all sugar which was at its Triangle and Hippo Valley storage facilities, after foreign registered vehicles were seen ferrying the product to Mozambique and South Africa respectively.
Commercial Sugarcane Farmers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Admore Hwarare said their members were expecting their share from the exported sugar in foreign currency.
“We are delighted that Tongaat Huletts Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe Sugar Sales, where I am a board member managed to sell a significant amount of sugar to foreign markets thereby earning the country the much needed foreign currency,” said Mr Hwarare.
He said traditionally the industry would export 40 percent of sugar but this time they managed to export more.
“If you visit the warehouses in Triangle and Hippo Valley there is no sugar.
“All the sugar was exported meaning there are many reasons for the over 1000 indigenous farmers to smile because their product was exported,” he said.
“Traditionally we would export 40 percent of sugar produced and have 60 percent consumed locally.
“This would see sugar from previous season’s crossing over into another season in huge quantities. That is no longer the case.
“The world is in need of Zimbabwean sugar and we must export so that we get more foreign currency.”
Zimbabwe Sugarcane Development Association’s chairman Mr Edmore Vetera, said the industry required a holistic approach towards the attainment of the 1 million tonnes of sugar per annum.
“If the farmer is getting payments in foreign currency, this would help him or her to plan ahead for the next farming season.
“In addition, most of our inputs require forex and given that our product is required worldwide, we just have to increase production towards the 1 million tonnes of sugar per annum.
“We can only achieve that feat, if the farmer is getting foreign currency,” he said.