BULAWAYO, May 26 (The Source) – Sugar cane grower and processor Tongaat Hullett says it plans to increase the number of local farmers growing sugar cane in its Zimbabwean Lowveld operations by 20 percent to over 1,000 by 2017 from 850 this year.
The company has been working with government and local communities to support sugar cane outgrowers in the region as part of an empowerment programme prescribed by the state.
In its audited results for the year ended March31, the South African company, which owns Triangle and Hippo Valley estates in Zimbabwe, said during the 2014/15 season, the 857 new farmers had 15,880 hectares under sugar cane, employed more than 7,300 people and generated $70 million in annual revenue.
“Current initiatives should increase this, by the 2017/18 season, to some 1,023 private farmers supplying more than 1,900,000 tons of cane harvested from 19,270 farmed hectares, with further job creation in rural communities,” the company said.
The company said it recorded a profit of $35 million (R386 million) during the year compared to the $33 million (R330 million) last year.
“Local market sales volumes recovered significantly, with improved local market protection (tariffs and import licences) implemented earlier in the year and progress being made with distribution and marketing initiatives,” it added.