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Break the monopoly, diversify economy - ZSDA
Break the monopoly, diversify economy – ZSDA
The multipurpose use of sugarcane has brought hope and diversity in Zimbabwe with the demand of ethanol on the increase for fuel and power generation. Further, the monopoly in the sugarcane milling sector will soon be broken with the commissioning of a second milling plant earmarked for Chiredzi, a brain child of Zimbabwe Sugarcane Development Association (ZSDA).
ZSDA has identified investors with whom they will purchase milling plants in a move expected to open up the sugarcane production and milling industry.
With the rabid increase in the number of new farmers of sugar cane, the existing sugar milling plant (Tongaat Huelett) has been under stress to absorb the oversupply of the cane leading to its failure in the market and to the new farmers.
“We are planning to have a mill specifically for Mkwasine because at the moment the farmers travel at least 72 kilometres to access the mill and as a result they suffer unbudgeted consequential losses,” explained Edmore Veterai the ZSDA Chairman further adding that farmers’ produce deteriorates before it gets to the mill.
He said the mill will perform the multiple function of producing sugar, ethanol and electricity.
“ZESA is not supplying adequate electricity to Chiredzi as we sometimes go for days on end without electricity and yet we get astronomical bills.”
The new plant is expected to feed electricity, a secondary product of its process, into the national grid and light up in surrounding schools, hospitals and police stations.
The plant and equipment will be imported from India.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Joseph Made advised that the construction of the first phase of the ethanol plant in Chisumbanje, Chipinge district will be commissioned around April this year.
“The Chisumbanje ethanol plant will be commissioned by the end of March to beginning of April,” Made said.
The Business Diary is reliably informed that construction is already at an advanced stage.
The project is expected to cost US$ 600 million with US$ 270 million already invested in the project with an expected 3500 jobs set to be created mostly for the community.
The plant will comprise a sugar cane mill, distiller and boiler and is expected to have a production capacity of between 2.5 million and 2.8 million litres of ethanol per day.
“It’s expected to produce about 120 megawatts of electricity. Production processes are expected to consume 20 megawatts with excess fuel fed into the national grid for the country’s consumption,” explained Made.