Business

KZN based Tongaat Hulett announces its project with Zimbabwe is on track

KZN based Tongaat Hulett announces its project with Zimbabwe is on track

CAPE TOWN – KwaZulu-Natal based agri-processing business, Tongaat Hulett on Tuesday announced that Project Kilimanjaro, which will result in the development of a significant portion of land to sugarcane, is on track. 

The project, which is supported by the Government of Zimbabwe and a consortium of banks led by CABS and CBZ, will entail development of 3,362 hectares for sugarcane at Hippo Valley and Triangle Estates in Zimbabwe and will impact on the lives of previously disadvantaged indigenous communities. 

“Once the land has been planted to sugarcane it will be handed over to government for allocation to approximately 200 new farmer beneficiaries,” Tongaat Hulett said in a statement. 

"In the 2014 pilot phase, 203 hectares was developed. Sugarcane yields on the developed land are impressive, currently averaging 130 tons cane per hectare.

This partnership project, which was agreed to with the Zimbabwean Government in November last year, is on track to be completed by September 30, 2020. 

“To date, some  2,200 hectares of bush has been cleared and good progress has been made in the construction of night storage dams, conveyance canals, roads, drains, and related infrastructure. The first 300 hectares are set to be planted before the end of August,” the company said.

The project is being implemented at a cost of ZWL$400 million (the equivalent of US$40 million at current average inter-bank rate of exchange) and is fully funded by commercial banks on a full cost recovery basis. 

“At an average yield of 120 tons of cane per hectare, this new development will deliver about 400,000 tons of cane to our mills per season, translating to 50,000 tons of additional sugar production or approximately 30 million additional litres of ethanol,” Tongaat Hulett said.

It also said that approximately 2,000 direct new jobs are being created and significant economic empowerment opportunities are being realised both up and downstream, particularly to contractors of land preparation machinery, suppliers of key agricultural inputs, transport, housing, and other services.

- African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay