Africa Sugar Digest, Vol. I, No 14, July 2010

Mozambique: SINTIA branch committees negotiate minimum wages

After seven rounds of negotiations SINTIA, the Mozambican sugar workers union and APAMO, the sugar producers association agreed on 16 April to a new minimum wage for the sector at 1,712 meticais (USD 1.00=MZN 33.55). According to the process, after the “sector-wide” agreement was reached, the local union committees negotiated in their own estates.

In Mafambisse and Marromeu, a minimum wage of MZN 1,768 was agreed on 5 May. The process in Xinavane and Maragra was more complex, however. In Açucareira de Xinavane a minimum wage of MZN 1,854 was reached, after a strike by agricultural workers which lasted from 14-20 July. In Maragra Sugar, an Illovo Sugar subsidiary, a wage of MZN 1,900 for workers in Grade A1 was reached on 20 July, which corresponds to an increase of 16-18 percent in the higher categories, including factory workers. (With reports from Julia Mapepa, SINTIA.)

South Africa: FAWU signs agreement with Illovo Agriculture

On 27 May FAWU signed a wage agreement with Illovo Sugar SA Operations in Agriculture granting an 8.5 percent increase across the board from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. The wage increase for workers in the so-called Sectoral Determination for farm workers will be effective as of 1 March 2010. The new rates range from a low of 50.50 South African rands per day to a maximum of 148.65 rands. (USD 1.00 = ZAR 7.37). Food allowance was also increased by the same percentage, going from 329.47 rands per month to 357.47 rands.

Sudan: White Nile to Open Sugar Factory in 2011

White Nile will open a USD 1.1 billion sugar factory in Sudan next year, which will make the country self-sufficient by 2012, the company’s general manager said on 25 July. The White Nile factory will reach an initial capacity of 250,000 tonnes by November 2011, and be fully operational at 450,000 tonnes by 2012. Kenana Sugar holds a 30 percent stake in White Nile, and other shareholders include the government of Sudan and Egyptian investors. The company is also close to signing a deal with a Chinese company to build a 60 million litre ethanol plant and 100,000 tonne animal-feed plant.

Sudan’s sugar consumption is around 1.2 million tonnes per year and production is about 800,000 tonnes. With the White Nile at full capacity, Sudan would cover domestic demand, and a small amount would be available for shipping to the European Union.

A spokesperson for Kenana said that there is an ambitious USD 20 billion “sugar master plan” proposing to reach between 10-14 million tonnes a year by 2020. In addition, there will be a production of 1 billion litres of ethanol and 11.4 million tonnes of animal feed a year which, through integrated plants, will support the production of 4.5 million tonnes of meat and 140,000 tonnes of dairy products a year.

Mozambique: Brazil and EU to cooperate on biofuel production

The European Commission and the Mozambican and Brazilian governments announced they will work together to develop the Mozambican bioenergy sector, focusing on biofuels and bioelectricity. The agreement, announced in Brasilia in mid July, involves setting up of a working group to examine the terms of reference and the implementation of the partnership. A country study will analyse the potential for the development of bioenergy in a sustainable manner, as well as the project’s impact on poverty reduction in Mozambique, it was added.

Zimbabwe: Politicians quarrel over ethanol project

Early this year, the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) project and Rating and Macdom Investments entered into an arrangement to make the estates at Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi into sugar cane fields to produce ethanol. The ethanol plant is reported under construction at Chisumbanje, and is expected to produce between 35,000 and 40,000 litres a day. The company is linked to Zanu (PF) personage, Billy Rautenbach.

The project involves the displacement of hundreds of residents to allow sugar cane growing, and some traditional leaders have criticised Zanu (PF), Robert Mugabe’s party, saying that some members are personally profiting from the project by forcing people to relocate. It is also reported that the project involves three powerful political figures, including the presidential affairs minister, the agriculture minister, and a former Zanu provincial chair. There are even some Zanu members who think that these figures should have told the party about the project instead of having it as “their personal business.”

Africa, Jamaica, China: Chinese Complant buys Jamaican sugar estates

New corporate links are being created with Chinese companies at the helm of some global sugar businesses. On 30 July, China’s Complant, the National Complete Plant Import & Export Co Ltd, signed a USD 9 million agreement to buy three Jamaican government-owned sugar factories. The sale will be effective one year from now, at the end of the 2010-2011 harvest, allowing Jamaica to fulfil a supply contract with Tate & Lyle. Complant says it operates six sugar companies on leasing contracts: the Save Sugar Complex in Benin, Anie Sugar in Togo and Magbass Sugar in Sierra Leone, all in West Africa; and three in Madagascar, the Ambilobe, Namakia and Morondava. Complant says it controls some 200,000 tonnes of sugar per year, with half of it exported to the European Union. Jamaica’s three estates would immediately add some 60,000 tonnes per year, which may also target the EU.

IUF Global Sugar in Africa

Workshops on electronic communication and the Internet are scheduled with SINTIA, Mozambique from 16-19 Aug., and with SAPWU, Swaziland from 23-27 Aug. A sub-regional meeting on negotiations will be held in Maragra on 20-21 Aug. with participation of SINTIA, FAWU and SAPWU. It follows the Big Bend meeting in Swaziland held 15-18 March this year.

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).

Africa Sugar Digest, Vol. I, No 14, July 2010 – click to download –

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