Business

Sugarcane thefts rile THZ

Ivayinerudo Magarazano

Chiredzi- Thefts of raw sugarcane by villagers around leading sweet gold producer, Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe farms are causing significant losses to the listed entity, chaired by prominent legal practitioner Canaan Dube of Dube Manilkai and Hwacha (DMH).

Acting agriculture operations manager, George Takayedza told journalists during a media tour recently that 20 tons of sugarcane are being stolen per month resulting in substantial financial loss to outgrowers and the company.

In a positive development, the company has made significant progress on the multi-million dollar Kilimanjaro project, a 4 000-hectare scheme aimed at empowering new farmers, create new jobs and improve sugarcane feedstock.

 To date, they have managed to clear up 2 600 hectares of land with 700 hectares under crop establishment.

“Residents have resorted to stealing the company cane, and they have gone to the extent of creating their own markets stretching to as far as Beitbridge. We are talking of 20 tons of sugarcane being stolen per month which is quite significant,” said Takayedza.

Despite the challenges posed by cane theft, the company remains committed to the Kilimanjaro project’s success, which it is working closely with government and local farmers.

The project, launched in 2019 is expected to yield 480 000 tons of sugarcane annually which is approximately 60 000 tons of pure sugar upon completion.

The scheme is expected to pay back capital investments in four years and create over 1 400 new jobs, supporting over 5 600 dependents.

Tongaat Huletts agricultural technical executive, Pitiel  Mujuru, expressed optimism about the project’s potential to contribute to the national development strategy, creating new wealth and employment opportunities in Chiredzi and surrounding areas.

“1 400 new jobs of crop maintenance staff  will be created when the project is fully developed, forward and backward linkages for commercial purposes, Chiredzi Town cannot be without the sugar industry,” said Mujuru.

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