Kenya: Massive corruption in sugar sector
Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission published a report saying that “corruption and mismanagement permeate nearly all the institutions connected to the (sugar) sub-sector.” It says that corruption “is reported to be practiced in the appointment of chief executives of mills, the employment and promotion of staff in the mills, loss/theft of sugar from factories, and the process of accessing loans from KSB (Kenya Sugar Board) among others.” The network of this “mega corruption” involves “KSB officials, managers of mills, managers of out-grower institutions and senior public officials…” The Commission has urged the findings of the study to be addressed as “a matter of urgency.” It says that some 6 million people involved directly or indirectly in the sugar sub-sector have become poorer because of this massive corruption.
The Commission said that the KSB lacks the technical capacity to coordinate the privatisation of five state-owned sugar factories and that the process may not help improving efficiencies. It also underlined the risk of selling multibillion-shilling factories at a fraction of their costs to groups who have no intention to expand sugar production. Kenyan newspapers reported that the privatisation of Miwani Sugar may be derailed because of the alleged illegal sale of 10,000 acres belonging to the estate. The lands were sold to Kibos Sugar and Allied in 2007, a company that recently opened a sugar factory near Kisumu. The Anti-Corruption Commission recommended prosecuting a number of personalities involved in the case.
South Africa: FAWU signs wage agreement with Sugar Cane Institute
On 6 Aug. the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) signed an agreement with the South African Sugarcane Research Institute granting an 8.75 percent wage increase across the board. The new rates go from 1,849.44 rands per month for workers in the A1 category to 3,421.57 rands in B3 (USD 1.00=ZAR 7.15) The increase will be paid in August, retroactive to April 2010. There are 180 workers covered by the agreement.
Sudan: New factory secures funding
The Mashkour sugar company said the company has secured funding to build a sugar and alcohol factory to produce 140,000 tonnes of sugar and 30 million litres of alcohol by 2014. The funding comes through a government-to-government credit line from India’s EXIM Bank for about USD 150 million, with the balance on the total $280 million provided by stakeholders. A contract to build the factory is expected to be signed by the end of the month.
Mauritius: Refined sugar exports to Europe to quadruple
Mauritius Sugar Syndicate said exports of refined sugar to Europe will reach 320,000 tonnes, up from 78,000 tonnes in 2009, as the island increased refining capacities with the Omincane Ltd and the Flacq United Estates Ltd. opening refineries last year. The Syndicate said it has signed a six-year agreement with Germany’s Sudzucker to sell refined sugar in Europe.
Bahrain: First sugar refinery in 2011
The Arabian Sugar Company (ASC) is building the plant in Salman Industrial Park with an annual capacity of 585,000 tonnes per year and at a cost of around USD 150 million, according to an Internet report quoting the Arabic language daily Alayyam edition of 1 August. The refinery is to enter in operation in the last quarter of 2011, and will produce high-quality refined sugar. The company said it has signed contracts with regional suppliers of raws and will target the local and regional markets. The company is reported as owned by Bahrain’s International Investment Bank and Kuwait International Bank.
Zambia: Zambia Sugar self-sufficient in energy
Zambia Sugar has started generating 40 MW of electricity from bagasse, ending its dependency on unreliable sources of energy. According to the company, the factory requires 13 MW and another 23 MW are used in the irrigation system, with the balance sold to the national grid. Co-generation was one aspect of the recently completed expansion program, which doubled the company’s production to about 440,000 tonnes of sugar per year.
Uganda: Students leave school to work in plantations
A report posted on the Internet edition of The New Vision of 8 Aug. said the expansion of cane plantations in the Mayuge district is enticing some students to “dodge” school and work on the farms. The students usually help in the loading of cane and are paid between 200-500 Ugandan shillings per “bundle,” depending on their “bargaining ability.” A teacher said the students leave school in the afternoon; while a farmer said that their (farmers’) task is to “provide manpower to load the trucks regardless of whether they are school-going children or not. In any case, he added, it is hard to tell as they do not come wearing school uniforms.” The students said they are earning lunch money.
In related news, sugar production fell below estimations in the first half of the year because of last year’s drought and heavy rains earlier this year. Raw sugar production in the period was 135,110 tonnes, against a projected 148,358 tonnes. Production, however, is expected to increase by about 11 percent to 318,000 tonnes in 2010, based on improved cane supply and increased milling capacity.
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).