Africa Sugar Digest, Vol. II, No 8, 27 September 2011

Egypt: New sugar refinery announced

Port Said Governor General said that Egypt’s biggest sugar beet refinery will be built in the governorate with an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes and a cost of USD 400 million. Investment bank Beltone Financial said all funds invested in the plant will be Egyptian, but no institutions have been named.

Kenya: Omnicane to build sugar factory

The Mauritian company Omnicane is planning a USD 180 million sugar factory in Kenya, according to reports by L’Express, which quoted a Omnicane spokesperson as saying that the factory will be located in Kwale, near Mombasa, and will initially have 17,000 acres of land under sugar cane. The project also includes a cogeneration plant of 18 megawatts (using bagasse) and a 30,000-litres ethanol distillery. The investment is said to have local partners under the Kwale International Sugar Company Limited (KISCOL).

Zimbabwe: Massive new ethanol plant to enter in operation

The Chisumbanje ethanol plant is about to start operations with the aim of producing about 40 million litres of fuel alcohol by November (105 million by March 2012). The factory has a reported cost of USD 600 million. Production, said The Herald, is expected to supply up to 70 percent of Zimbabwe’s fuel needs, based on a 10 to 25 percent mixture of ethanol and gasoline. The project is a joint venture of the Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (Arda) and Green Fuel Private Limited. It is reported that over 6,000 workers are currently employed in the project, which covers some 5,000 hectares under sugar cane. Some 400 outgrowers are also expected to supply cane to the factory.

Tanzania: Illovo Sugar to build USD 45m distillery

South Africa’s Illovo Sugar will invest USD 45 million in a new distillery in Kilombero Sugar, its Tanzania subsidiary, increasing alcohol production to 12 million litres per year. The government has already approved the company’s environmental impact assessment and the distillery is planned to start production in May 2013. It is expected that alcohol will be sold within the East African Customs Union, given Illovo’s strong regional customer base. Illovo also said that it has plans to produce alcohol in Zambia, Malawi and Mali by 2014-2015.

Swaziland: Ubombo Ranches to supply energy to national grid

Ubombo Ranches, an Illovo Sugar subsidiary, expects to supply some 5 to 10 percent of the country’s energy through its power station recently inaugurated at a cost of 1.2 billion lilangeni (USD 1.00=SZL 8.15).

Tanzania: IUF Sugar / TPAWU Workshop on Employment and Labour Legislation

Nineteen participants from the eight sugar branches of the Tanzania Plantation Agricultural Workers Union (TPAWU) met for a workshop on 5 & 6 September in Morogoro, to discuss labour legislation in the sugar sector and to evaluate the activities of the IUF Global Sugar project in East and Southern Africa.

The workshop focused on labour issues such a contract conditions, termination of employment and severance payments, and Maternity Protection. A special session was devoted to Labour Dispute Resolutions in response to the union’s concerns about the actual implementation of the legislation at grass-root level.

The Unitrans Tanzania branch reported on a pilot project in the use of the Internet and electronic communication, following the IT training held in November 2009 in Moshi in the context of the IUF Sugar project. Electronic communication was a key tool in the establishing of a federation in the Kilombero valley, comprising eight branches, five of which are related to the sugar sector. (http://www.iuf.org/sugar/2011/09/tanzania_iuf_global_sugar_tpaw.html)

Kenya: IUF Sugar / KUSPAW Workshop on Occupational Health and Safety

Fourteen delegates from seven sugar branches of the Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation Workers met from 14-16 September at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu to evaluate the four-year work on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) under the IUF Global Sugar project in East and Southern Africa.

The OHS work under the IUF Sugar project covered all six sugar estates fully in operation when the project was launched (2007): SONY, Muhoroni, Chemelil, Nzoia, Mumias and West Kenya. It targeted union members of the joint safety committees, and developed their skills in the identification of hazards and risks and the proposal of sensible solutions, which empowered members at the grass-root and promoted social dialogue in the workplaces.

The delegates reported also on the impact of the IUF Global Sugar project, reviewing the observations and recommendations produced during the project’s activities in their estates. The participants also made some recommendations to their branches, KUSPAW national office and the IUF Global Sugar Program: activities should continue educating and sensitising workers on OSH matters and training union members of the Safety Committees; the union should establish OSH Committees in the new factories (among them Kibos and Butali); and that KUSPAW ought to develop an OHS policy for the sugar sector. Participants also identified a key issue: that there is a gap in the information required to face and resolve safety issues. They recommended that the union and committee members produce their own data for each work section in their companies. (See also http://www.iuf.org/sugar/2011/09/kenya_iuf_sugar_kuspaw_worksho.html)

Good bye Jerry

G.B. Hagelberg, Jerry, passed away on 2 September in Canterbury, UK at age 86. He was one of the sharpest minds I’ve met in my 30-odd years of working in sugar. After meeting during a sugar workers workshop in 1986 in Negros Occidental, Philippines we kept a decades-long conversation that helped me to better understand the sector and the role of unions in it. Thank you, Jerry.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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).
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Africa Sugar Digest, Vol. II, No 8, September 2011 – click to download –

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