|Sugar cane farmers increase production|
|Sunday, 24 February 2013 17:36|
This year the country expects to produce about 3,5 million tonnes of sugar cane.
CSAZ secretary general Mr Darlington Chiwa told New Ziana that the high price of sugar encouraged farmers to increase production.
“The increase in raw sugar production is because growing the crop is rewarding, so everyone involved is positive and working hard to earn more,” he said.
“Other factors include funding availed under the Successful Rural Sugarcane Farming Community Project (SusCo) and extension services that Tongaat Hullet provides”.
When the 2012 marketing season closed in December, raw sugar was fetching $700 a tonne.
Mr Chiwa said most farmers had gained experience in sugar cane production since they had been in the business for the past 10 years.
Prior to the land reform programme, sugar cane production was the monopoly of Tongaat Hullet, a South African company which still controls the local milling and marketing of the crop.
Co-operation between the government, the southern Lowveld communities, the European Union and Tongaat Hullet is expected to boost rural sugar cane farming. Already, some 15 000 hectares have been allocated to 870 indigenous farmers who are producing about 20 percent of national output.
Zimbabwe has the potential to produce up to 4,4 million tonnes of sugar cane annually.
Sugar cane production in Zimbabwe takes place under irrigation in the southeast low altitude areas of Zimbabwe, also known as the Lowveld.
Large privately-owned sugar estates and individual farmers produce the crop.
The two large privately-owned estates Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates comprise 28 494 hectares and produce about 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s sugar crop. — New Ziana