Mozambique: Maragra Workers on Strike
More than 600 seasonal cane cutters employed by the Maragra Sugar Company went on strike on 5 July to protest the deduction from their wages of a three percent contribution for the social security system. The workers are concerned with paying towards a security program when many of them are seasonal workers with contracts lasting the six-month harvest period and they have no assurance of reemployment. They feel they run the risk of investing money in a program where their employment is uncertain. Further difficulties arose when two strikers were arrested for throwing stones at a vehicle transporting riot police. Provincial Labour Inspector said the deductions are legal and also appeared on the contracts the workers signed.
South Africa: Unions settle wages
A nine percent increase across the board was agreed by unions in South Africa’s Bargaining Council for Sugar, covering some 4,900 workers in the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. The new minimum parity rates range from ZAR 21.10 per hour for workers in Grade A1 to ZAR 62.14 in Grade C3 of the Patterson system (USD 1.00 = ZAR 7.63). The agreement was signed on 8 June 2010. IUF affiliate FAWU represents 44 percent of the workers covered by the Council. The Global Sugar project in Africa is working on a sub-regional approach towards 2011 negotiations including FAWU (South Africa), SAPWU (Swaziland) and SINTIA (Mozambique). More information at www.iuf.org/sugar/
Egypt: Cargill gets approval to build refinery; new refinery announced
The US-based agricultural giant Cargill Inc. got the approval to build a sugar refinery in Egypt, according to the Industrial Development Authority. The refinery will see an initial investment of 400 million Egyptian pounds (USD 70.5 million) and is scheduled to start operations in 2012. Cargill was allocated land in the northern city of Borg El Arab.
Meanwhile, the state-run Food Industries Holding Co. (FIHC) has received offers from German and Japanese companies to build a 1.2 billion Egyptian pounds (USD 211m) sugar refinery. FIHC said it would own a 40 percent stake in the refinery, while the private company will own the remaining 60 percent. Construction will begin in mid-January 2011 and is planned to be completed within two years.
ISO statistics for Egypt in 2008 quote domestic consumption at 2.7 million tonnes, with 1.6 million locally produced.
In related news, Egypt’s Finance Ministry agreed to pay a state-owned sugar company 1 billion Egyptian pounds (about USD 180 million) to cover the cost of sugar subsidies for the six months ending on June 2010.
Angola: Sugar production by Brazilian Odebrecht expected in 2011
The BIOCOM project underway in Angola, in partnership with the Brazilian Odebrecht, will start producing sugar in the last quarter of 2011, said the company during a visit to Brazil of Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santos. Odebrecht said that the first BIOCOM mill remains economically viable because the country currently imports large amounts of sugar. Odebrecht’s investment is estimated at USD 500 million. Another BIOCOM project to produce sugar and alcohol in partnership with local businesses is reported under implementation in the province of Malanje.
Zambia: Exports to EU jump to 135,000 tonnes
Exports of sugar from Zambia to the European Union increased from 30,000 to 135,000 tonnes following the opening of the market to the LDCs and the commissioning of the Nakambala Sugar Estate Expansion Project which had a cost of ZMK 1 trillion (USD 194.5 million). The Nakambala expansion resulted in the doubling of production, to over 440,000 tonnes, in Zambia Sugar, a subsidiary of Illovo Sugar. The project started in April 2007 and included the upgrading of the existing factory, building infrastructure (roads and canals), and developing over 10,000 hectares of additional cane lands. The expanded production focuses primarily on supplying the European market (taking advantage of the corporate links created by ABF/British Sugar/Ebro Azucarera/Illovo Sugar), the growth in sugar demand in regional markets, and the diversification into the energy sector, particularly cogeneration of electricity. Plans are to export some 200,000 tonnes of sugar to the EU in about three years, said a Zambia Sugar spokesperson.
Zambia: Countries agree on sugar exports
Zambia and other countries have agreed to cooperate in their exports of sugar to the EU under the Everything but Arms (EBA) policy. The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have an estimated exports of 442,000 tonnes for 2009/2010 and 891,000 for the 2010/2011 season. Zambia accounts for 135,000 and 250,000 tonnes for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 respectively.
Total sugar exports to the EU will be 1,826,000 tonnes and 2,531,000 in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 seasons respectively. Zambia’s Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, estimates there will be a 200,000 tonne deficit in the EU imports in the 2009/2010 market year.
Dubai: Al Khaleej won’t expand UAE sugar refinery now
Dubai’s Al Khaleej sugar refinery said that proposed expansion of the refinery from 1.5 million tonnes of white sugar to 2 million will not happen this year.
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Africa Sugar Digest is produced thanks to the IUF Global Sugar project in East and Southern Africa. It appears as news becomes available. Contributions are welcome. The IUF African sugar project is supported by the Social Justice Fund of the Canadian Auto Workers (SJF-CAW), with contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the Labour International Development Program of the Canadian Labour Congress (LIDP-CLC).