BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Government is working on a sugar strategy to deal with bottlenecks affecting the sugar industry value chain, Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu has said.
Ndlovu was speaking at a workshop attended by representatives from various industries including cotton, leather, pharmaceutical, dairy and sugar.
He said the challenges affecting the sugar cane value chain included access to water and affordable financial support.
“I know that the sugar strategy is being developed. Consultations will intensify so that we have a strategy paper that is a product of the whole consultative process so that is already underway. We did not mention it here because we just isolated a few. I am a believer in that we should target low-hanging fruits,”Ndlovu said.
“We want to ensure continued operation and revival of industry and promotion of value chain development. The ministry has convened meetings with several value chain partners together with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to come up with strategies to strengthen existing value chains.”
In response, Chiredzi North MP Roy Bhila, said government has been taking long to address issues affecting the sugar cane value chain.
“Thank you for highlighting issues on the sugar industry, but even the former minister (Mike Bimha) is here and he would say that and nothing would take place. So I hope to do exactly like your words,”Bhila said.
Bimha said it was the responsibility of the private sector to take the lead in dealing with issues affecting their sector.
About 80% of Zimbabwe’s sugarcane crop is produced by two large estates, namely Triangle Sugar Estate and Hippo Valley Estate with the rest coming from private farmers and newly resettled farmers.
Speaking at the same event, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Sifelani Jabangwe said he had identified 18 value chains, which were submitted to the parent ministry.
“We are focusing on the value chain to resuscitate and grow the economy. The collapse of the value chain led to the collapse of the industry,” he said.