KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
LOW water levels in the Kafue River to irrigate Zambia Sugarâ€™s vast cane estates has resulted in the decline of sugar production of 380,400 tonnes in 2015 from 424,024 tonnes the previous season, Illovo Group managing director Gavin Dalgleish has said.
Mr Dalgleish, who was in the country recently, said operations at Nakambala, recorded an 11 percent reduction in overall production performance in 2015.
â€œWhile we still retain our position as a leading sugar producer and the largest private agricultural and milling company in the region, the total amount of cane processed by the factory amounted to 3,102,000 tonnes to produce 380,400 tonnes of sugar, which is 44,000 tonnes less than the previous seasonâ€™s production record of 424,024 tonnes,â€ he said.
The partial drought and the consequent low water levels of the Kafue River, resulted in less water available to irrigate sugar cane estates and further increased susceptibility to crop infestations.
â€œIn spite of these challenges, Zambia Sugar injected over K855 million into the economy during the past year and procured more than K450 million worth of goods and services from within Zambiaâ€™s borders.
â€œOf the K2 billion earned in revenue during the past season, K417 million was paid to out-growers for their cane supplied while K664 million was distributed to employees as salaries, lenders of capital as interest, shareholders as dividends and to Government as taxation,â€ Mr Dalgleish said.
He said Zambia Sugar will seek to create shared value by managing its business interests and risks alongside those of its investment partners, internal and external stakeholders and host communities.
â€œOur aim is to build a long-term and resilient business that fully understands its challenges and obligations to its stakeholders,â€ Mr Dalgleish said.
He said the company will make inroads into new markets and grow its presence in existing markets through market development initiatives.
â€œThis will be possible through the new expanded refinery that will assist the company to take advantage of positive growth opportunities in the local and regional industrial sugar markets,â€ he said.
KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka