Tongaat Hulett targets additional 23,000ha to boost sugar output

Tongaat Hulett targets additional 23,000ha to boost sugar output

HARARE, March 19 (The Source) – Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe is targeting to develop an additional 23,000 hectares as the company gears to increase sugar production in the country, a top company official has said.

Sydney Mtsambiwa, the Tongaat chief executive said the sugar producer was in discussions with government over acquiring new land for sugar cane production.

“As part of our plan we are going to seek government authority for another new 2,000 hectares at Mwenezana Estate to resettle out-grower farmers and ultimately to develop another 1, 000 hectares utilising water from Tokwe Murkosi Dam,” he said.

Mtsambiwa said the company, owned by South African-headquartered Tongaat Hulett, has already been allocated another 4,000 hectares by government – in addition to its 44,519 hectares – to be used by resettled farmers.

“In essence we seek to open net cane area over the (4,000ha)  amounting to 3,393 hectares. Currently we have developed 203 hectares in total,” he said adding that the company was negotiating with banks for a $20 million loan to develop the land.

Under its Successful Rural Communities Project (Surco) launched in November 2011, Tongaat has so far supported over 18,000 out grower farmers.

The company’s subsidiaries, Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates sugar mills, have a combined installed milling capacity to crush in excess of 4,8 million tonnes of cane annually and produce over 640,000 tonnes of sugar.

Tongaat spokesperson Adelaide Chikunguru recently told The Source that the Surco programme was aimed at developing a successful and sustainable Sugarcane Farming Community through a comprehensive private farmer rehabilitation programme that will increase sugarcane production by private A2 farmers from the 413,000 tonnes harvested on 8,805 hectares in 2010 to an annual production of 1,4 million tonnes on 15, 880 hectares by 2014/15.

“At full production, an estimated 8,000 workers will be employed by out-grower farmers under the Surco Project, bringing the number of total employees in the sugar industry to 26, 000,” she said.