Zimbabwe: Bitter Pill to Swallow for Zimbabwe’s Sugar Farmers

Chiredzi, Zimbabwe — SUGARCANE output from Zimbabwe’s outgrower farmers is projected to drop significantly this season because of expensive tillage costs and failure to secure inputs on time.

Production by the farmers in Hippo Valley, Mkwasine and Triangle Limited is projected to drop by 7,5 percent to 1,118 million tonnes of raw sugarcane.

More than 1,208 tonnes were produced last year.

Adelaide Chikunguru, the Tongaat Hulett Corporate Affairs and Communications Executive, confirmed the forecast decline.

“There are many reasons behind the drop. You can only talk to the farmers associations,” said Chikunguru.

She meanwhile added that the sugar cutting season was supposed to end on December 15 but due to the prevailing rainfall, it was now unclear when the season would end.

Dennis Masomere, the Mkwasine Sugarcane Farmers Association Chairman, also confirmed a reduction in output.

“This is because of many challenges which we are facing,” he said.

“We received inputs and herbicides late, we transport out cane with a train to the mills from here but the cane is carried after many days and it (cane sugar) loses weight during that process,” said Masomere.

He said the solution would be for local farmers to have their own mill to cut the cost of transporting sugarcane to Hippo Valley or Triangle.

“I also think the impending amendment of the Sugar Act of 1964 will also help us a lot,” Masomere added.