Mali: AfDB approves 65 million Euro to Markala Sugar project
The African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on 6 December, a 30-million Euro private sector loan and a 35 million Euro public sector loan to the Markala Sugar project (MSP) in Mali. The project’s agricultural component, CaneCo, will develop a 14,132 ha estate in Markala, 275 km northeast of Bamako, on the Niger River aiming to produce 1.48 million tonnes of cane per year. The industrial component, SoSuMar, includes a sugar mill, an ethanol plant and a co-generation facility. The mill will have a daily crushing capacity of 7,680 tonnes, producing 190,000 tonnes of sugar per year (180,000 tonnes for direct human consumption and 10,000 tonnes for industrial use). MSP aims to supply the domestic sugar market as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal. The ethanol plant will produce 15 million litres of ethanol per year, and the co-generation facility 30 MW of electricity per year. The Markala project is expected to create about 8,000 direct jobs.
Nigeria: New refineries announced
Flour Mills Nigeria Plc said in mid October that it will invest USD 200 million in a refinery in Apapa, Lagos, which will be completed by 2012. The refinery will process some 750,000 tonnes of sugar per year and the Group also plans to develop a 15,000 ha plantation.
In related news, Olam International said it has agreed to a joint venture to set up a sugar refinery in the country. Olam said it will control 80 percent of the venture, while Lababidi Group (LG) will hold the remaining 20 percent. The refinery is expected to come online by mid-2013 and to produce 450,000 tonnes of white sugar in its first full year of operations.
Kenya: Court orders licensing of Butali factory
On 1 December, the High Court ordered the issuing of an operating license for the factory owned by Butali Sugar in Malava. Some 25,000 cane farmers registered with the company were encouraged by the ruling, which would open new markets for their cane.
The licensing of the factory has been surrounded by controversy. Butali Sugar was originally allowed to build the factory, which was later opposed by West Kenya on the grounds that it would provoke a deficit in cane supplies. A spokesperson for Butali Sugar said that the company had a license from the Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) to build the factory, but then regulator had been interfering with it. The cost of the 1,600 tdc factory was quoted at 3 billion Kenyan shillings (USD 38 million), financed by loans to be served with sugar revenues.
In other news from the sector, cane farmers supplying Nzoia Sugar are asking for the opportunity to buy 80 percent of shares when the estate goes for privatisation, in comparison to the 30 percent reported as allocated to them.
Mauritius: EU financial support to sugar restructuring
The European Union will transfer Mauritius 139.6 million Euros (USD 191 million) over the next three years as part of the support to the ACP countries to adjust to the reform of the sugar regime and the accompanying decline in preferential prices. The funds are transferred for general budget support, and the EU said the island has made good progress in restructuring its sugar industry. Mauritius received a 127.5 million Euro grant in 2007.
Africa: Illovo Sugar to increase exports to EU
Illovo Sugar plans to increase exports to Europe by some 10 percent this year, based on the expansion of its operations across Africa; even though a drought will have a negative impact on production in South Africa. The company sells most of its sugar within Africa, but expects to export to Europe some 300,000 tonnes, up from 270,000 last year, taking advantage of the duty free regime for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) under the Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement.
The company said that production in South Africa may fall by 15 percent and that a drop in production in Swaziland is expected due to bad weather conditions. These problems may be offset by an increased production in Zambia and Tanzania.
In related news, South Africa’s sugar production is estimated at 1.95 million tonnes for the season ending in March, making it the smallest crop in 15 years, according to the South African Sugar Association (SASA). A severe drought is the main factor for the decline in production. South Africa’s biggest sugar producers are Illovo Sugar Ltd., Tongaat Hulett Ltd., Crookes Brothers Ltd. and TSB Sugar.
IUF Global Sugar in Africa: ICT Training for sugar branches of NUPAW-Uganda
The IUF Global Sugar and NUPAW-Uganda developed national activities in the second phase of the regional project that focuses on improving the electronic communication skills of union branch officials to strengthen communication within the union, the region, and internationally, specifically with IUF Global Sugar. The program was conducted over 5 days in each of three sugar branches of NUPAW-U: Kakira, Kinyara and Lugazi (SCOUL), with 17 branch officials benefitting from the program, 10 of which were women. Participants enhanced their skills in the use of MS Word and Excel and in electronic mail, and in the research and download of information from the Internet. They also became familiar with the IUF Global Sugar website. The three workshops took place between September and November. (A report by Joyce Tumwesiga.)
Season’s Greetings. See you in the New 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).