Africa Sugar Digest, Vol. II, No 1, 19 January 2011

Ethiopia: Sugar factory workers get wage increase

Some 700 employees in the Finchaa, Methara, and Wenji sugar factories obtained a salary increase after two years of having been demanding increases and improvements in working conditions, according to a report by the Addis Fortune on 20 Dec. Increases were between 50pc and 75pc, with wages going from 12.40 Ethiopian birr to 19.30 birr and from 14.80 birr to 23.25 birr per day said the paper quoting local sources. (USD 1.00 = ETB 16.5140) The paper said Finchaa workers had given a 10-day notice, and had been on strike for two days.

Kenya: Kwale to start building sugar factory

The building of a USD 295 million sugar and ethanol factory will start in May according to Kwale International Sugar Co. Ltd. (Kiscol). The factory will process 3,000 tonnes of cane daily, and will also produce 30,000 litres of ethanol and 18 megawatts of electricity (12 MW to be sold to the national grid), according to local papers. Construction will be completed in 18 months.

Meanwhile, cane farmers in the Kakamega North District have asked the country’s president and prime minister to intervene in the dispute about the licensing of a new factory in their area, which has been built by Butali Sugar Company. Representatives of the Butali Sugar Outgrowers went to Nairobi to submit the petition, which is reported to be signed by some 25,000 farmers. The case has become a lengthy legal dispute, with the West Kenya company arguing the new factory contravenes regulations of the Sugar Act (about setting new processing facilities in a 40 km radius from an existing one) and will create a major deficit in cane supplies.

Sierra Leone: Parliament ratifies ethanol project

In November 2010, Sierra Leone’s Parliament ratified a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement between the government and Addax Bio-energy Sierra Leone Limited and Addax and Oryx Holdings BV, on the construction of a USD 275 million ethanol-electricity complex, which is reckoned as the largest foreign direct investment in the country’s history.

Based on a 10,000-hectare sugar cane plantation, the complex will process some 200 tonnes of cane per hour, and will produce 350,000 litres of ethanol and 15 megawatts of electricity per day. It is said that it will create 2,000 direct jobs. The project is said to start in 2012 in Makini town, in central Sierra Leone.

Addax & Oryx has said that the project is supported by European Development Finance Institutions and the African Development Bank, and is also developing the cogeneration component as a project under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The company said Sierra Leone has suitable lands and climate to grow sugarcane, and less than 20 percent of its 5 million hectares of arable lands are used in agriculture.

Several groups have criticised the project as part of the “land grabbing” developments that encourage agribusinesses to take over farmlands, jeopardising the lives of the rural population and undermining the food security of countries.

Egypt and Sudan: Joint sugar plant announced

Egypt and Sudan have agreed to build a 450,000-tonne sugar factory on the White Nile at a cost of 400 million Euros (USD 540 million) to supply the countries’ domestic markets. A spokesperson for the Egyptian Nubaria Sugar Company said that his company will contribute with 10 percent of the investment.

Algeria: Temporary exemption on sugar import duties

Algeria has suspended customs duties and value added tax on imports of white sugar from Jan.1 to Aug. 31, in response to riots over rising food prices. The measures were introduced as prices surpassed 130 dinar (USD 7.1) for each kilo of sugar and 800 dinars (USD 10.8) for five litres of oil, two key staple products. Sugar will now be sold for USD 1.20 per kilo, and five litres of oil in USD 8.10. The government said that world prices were a factor but also blamed local suppliers for driving up prices. It was reported that three people were killed and about eight hundred wounded in four days of riots.

Mauritius: Omnicane to produce ethanol

Omnicane Ethanol Holding will start producing ethanol in June, reported l’Express. The investment is estimated in 700 million rupees (USD 24 million) and the distillery will be located at La Baraque factory. The factory will process some 90,000 tonnes of molasses into 22.5 million litres of hydrous ethanol per year. The company aims to supply the E-10 for domestic consumption, but also will be able to ship to export markets.

Omnicane Limited owns 31 percent of Omnicane Ethanol Holding Ltd, and controls the La Baraque factory, which has a crushing capacity of 8,000 tonnes of cane per day. Omnicane produces 150,000 tonnes of high quality refined sugar (EU compliant) per year as well as energy from bagasse and coal.

Zimbabwe: Government official calls for seizing of cane plantations

Zimbabwean papers said on 8 Jan. that the minister of Youth Indigenisation and Empowerment called ZANU (PF) youths to seize the plantations of Triangle and Hippo Valley over land disputes. The South Africa-based Tongaat Hulett Sugar owns 100 percent of Triangle and 50.3 percent of Hippo Valley. They have a listed combined crushing capacity of 4.8 million tonnes of cane per year, and annual capacity of 600,000 tonnes, including 150,000 tonnes of refined sugar. The company controls some 29,000 hectares, and private growers have another 15,800 hectares under cane.

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. II, No 1, January 2011 – click to download –

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