US$500m for sugar plantations sought

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Zimbabwe needs US$500 million investment to develop new sugar cane plantations after creating additional irrigation capacity following the completion of the Tugwi Mukosi Dam in 2017, which has capacity to put 25 000 hectares under irrigation.

This was revealed by pan-African financial and economic advisory company Deat Capital who will host the first ever Zimbabwe International Sugar Conference in October this year with a view to facilitate investment into the country’s sugar industry.

Deat Capital said opportunities abound in Zimbabwe’s industry and these included sugar producing firms looking for upgrades of machinery, sugar farmers looking for latest harvesting tools and equipment, planting methods, solutions and fertilisers.

Further, there are opportunities in Zimbabwe with sugar mills looking for parts and technology upgrades, refineries seeking upgrades and maintenance solutions, companies expanding and exploring biogas and bio-ethanol technology as well as sugar companies exploring solutions for wastewater treatment.

Triangle and Hippo Valley estates sugar mills, the country’s two largest raw sugar producers, have combined installed milling capacity to crush in excess of 4,8 million tonnes of cane annually and currently produce over 640 000 tonnes of sugar.

Zimbabwe’s raw sugar refining capacity stands at 140 000 tonnes per annum. The potential for additional mills represents an opportunity for investors and the sugar industry.

The Zimbabwe sugar industry provides employment in job starved regions often in deep rural areas where there is little other economic activity or employment opportunity.

The industry also provides education and training, contributes to excellence in research and development, science and technology in sugar; supporting enterprises and ensures the sustainable use of natural resources in the southern African country.

“Opportunities for this industry to contribute further to Zimbabwe lie ahead and include renewable energy (and so) sugar is a precious commodity in Zimbabwe,” Deat Capital said this week.

President Mnangagwa is tentatively expected to officially open the inaugural international sugar conference to be held at Triangle Country Club in Masvingo from October 30-31, 2019.

The event is expected to attract at least 350 local, regional and international dignitaries, among them an impressive target speaker list from Zimbabwe Government leadership, local, regional and international sugar industry value chain.

However, given Zimbabwe’s sugar industry has over 1 000 small-scale commercial sugarcane growers the conference organisers said they expected an overflow of delegates to this event.

“This provides a huge business development opportunity for service providers and strategic partners, according to the organisers,” Deat Capital.

“The goal is to mobilise domestic and international investment to support growth of Zimbabwe industry in line with Zimbabwe Government Vision 2030.

“We hope the Minister of Industry and Commerce alongside Minister of State for Masvingo Province will facilitate invitation of the President (of Zimbabwe), His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa to officially open the conference.

“The One Stop Shop Investment Centre (OSSC) in the Office of President will also be a strategic partner with the objective of attracting domestic and international investment into the sector through the proposed new Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA).”

Part of the programme includes visits to sugar plantations, mills, the newly completed Tugwi-Mukosi Dam and other project development opportunities in sugar producing area of low-veld region, south eastern Zimbabwe in the sugar value chain.

The impressive target speaker list will speak on topics cutting across pertinent industry issues and growth initiatives from markets, trade and investment, logistics, women in sugar industry, infrastructure investment in the sugar industry, new technologies and smart agriculture.

They will also lecture insights into science and innovation, sustainable development, role of emerging markets such as BRICS in the sugar industry, regional markets outlook, loved tourism, agriculture and infrastructure investment forum.

Target foreign investor delegations are being mobilised from countries such as Belarus, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, China as well as the United Kingdom.-ebusinessweekly.co.zw

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