Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
BUY Zimbabwe has expressed concern over the proliferation of unfortified sugar imports in the market, a development that is exerting undue competition with local products, Buy Zimbabwe has said.
The unfortified brands are also contravening Sections 4 and 5 of Statutory Instrument (SI) 120 of 2016, which requires that sugar be fortified with food fortificants approved by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
In a statement yesterday, Buy Zimbabwe general manager Mr Alois Burutsa said not only is the violation of fortified sugar working against the intended objectives behind set regulations, it is also creating unnecessary competition with local products.
“Buy Zimbabwe expressed concern over reports that some imported unfortified sugar brands are being sold on the local market in contravention of Section 4 and 5 of the SI 12-0 of 2016, which requires that sugar be fortified with food fortificants that have been approved by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare,” said Mr Burutsa.
“The unfortified sugar brands are Ashna Golden sugar, Sunshine Brown Sugar, Liberty Brown Sugar, Atlanta Brown Sugar and Cosspex Brown Sugar.”
Since 2011 Buy Zimbabwe has been spearheading a campaign to promote local procurement and consumption of locally produced goods.
He said the sugar brands are also not compliant with labelling requirements so they should not be allowed in the local market.
“As Buy Zimbabwe we are urging against the importation of these unfortified sugar brands as they pose a health risk, especially to children.
“We also urge the general public to buy locally manufactured fortified sugar from our local markets, which meet the set dietary standards.”
Mr Burutsa said they will continue to push for the production and preference of quality local products to create jobs, wealth and pride in Zimbabwean products.
The concern comes as industry players are also raising the alarm about cheap imports of sugar originating from surplus producers who enjoy duty protection in their host countries.
In its latest trade update for the year ended 31 March 2022 and the first quarter ended 30 June 2022, sugar processor, Tongaat Hulett said although local demand for sugar remains strong as industry recovers from the impacts of Covid-19, the sugar industry is engaging authorities to ensure an even competitive playing field against cheap imports of sugar originating from surplus producers who enjoy duty protection in their host countries.
“This is also in an attempt to safeguard the health of the local population as some of the sugar imported is not Vitamin A fortified as required by law.”