Regional and global opportunities attract attention of Zim’s sugar industry, new analysis finds

Harare, April 2022: A new summary report, produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Sugar Association, explores the positive impact the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to have on the country’s sugar industry by giving access to untapped markets across the continent amid growing demand.

Entitled “Sugar in Zimbabwe: Focus Report”, the report provides an in-depth analysis of the history, operations, strategic and social importance of the local industry and the broader growth story, in a format easy to navigate and accessible, focusing on key data and infographics.

The study examines the challenges faced by local producers, which range from an unpredictable water supply and outdated working methods to a difficult broader economic landscape.

Subscribers will find details of the improvements industry players believe are needed to help boost productivity and move the industry forward, with mechanization, financial incentives and improved transport infrastructure among the top priorities.

The report also outlines the industry’s significant potential on the international stage, exploring opportunities to increase trade with global markets through bilateral and multilateral agreements.

In addition, the analysis highlights the groundbreaking research and development being carried out at the Zimbabwe Sugar Association Experiment Station, where major ongoing initiatives range from the creation of new seed varieties and pest management strategies to the irrigation and water efficiency assessments.

The report includes contributions from key representatives such as José Orive, Executive Director of the International Sugar Organization; Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda, President, Zimbabwe Sugar Association; Stephen Schwarer, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Sugar Association Experiment Station; and Audrey Mabveni, executive director of the Zimbabwe Sugar Association Experiment Station.

In his commentary, Masunda highlights the considerable social impact of the local sugar industry, as well as the need for investment to ensure it realizes its growth potential.

“It is one of the largest formal employers in the country, employing around 27,000 workers directly, as well as others through downstream industries. However, significant hurdles remain for the industry to unleash its full potential,” he said. “Mechanization is essential, but the cost of repairing and replacing equipment is prohibitive. Sugar cane growers need government support programs and concessional financing facilities to help them cope, just like those available to tobacco growers. »

Karine Loehman, OBG’s Managing Director for Africa, said Zimbabwe had made significant progress towards increasing sugar production capacity, despite the challenges facing the industry, reaffirming its resilience and importance as a contributor to GDP growth.

“Sugar cane was designated a strategic crop in April 2021, highlighting its local socio-economic value,” she said. “With the AfCFTA expected to boost intra-African trade and boost the continent’s competitiveness, Zimbabwe now faces a timely opportunity to focus more on addressing infrastructure issues and boosting sugar productivity, to expand its reach in the regional market and beyond. ”

The Zimbabwe Sugar Industry Report is part of a series of bespoke studies that the OBG is currently producing with its partners, including ESG and Future Readiness reports, and other highly relevant research tools, including including a range of country-specific growth studies. and articles and interviews on Recovery Outlook.

The report can now be viewed and downloaded here.

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Rachel J. Bradford