Sugar cane production at Hippo Valley Estates Limited declined 12 percent during the first quarter ended June 30, 2020 resulting in an eight percent slump in sugar produced compared to same period last year.
Earlier in the year, the company revealed that most of its sugar plantations were attacked by Yellow Sugarcane Aphid affecting output.
Cane milled declined 10 percent owing to logistical challenges by rail-liner, National Railways of Zimbabwe which constrained cane deliveries to the mill in the initial weeks of harvesting.
Cane milled reached 414 590 tonnes during the quarter from 459 938 tonnes same period last year.
Sugar production fell eight percent to 49 425 tonnes from 53 997 tonnes recorded last year, the same margin of decline with total sugar industry output of 101 063 tonnes from 109 607 tonnes realized same period last year.
The Tongaat Hulett’s subsidiary produced close to half Zimbabwe’s sugar production.
Total local industry sales volumes for the quarter amounted to 66 492 tonnes compared to 60 054 tonnes sold last year.
Export sales to date of 32 080 tonnes were achieved during the quarter compared to 14 587 tonnes over the same period in prior year, benefitting from increased sales into Kenya.
However, total industry sugar production for the current year is set to be between 445 000 and 455 000 tons exceeding prior year production of 441 000 tons, with the Company’s share of production estimated at 50 percent.
Going forward, the company is focusing on the 4 000 hectares out grower cane development project in partnership with Government and local banks (Project Kilimanjaro).
“It is on-going with a total of 2 700 hectares of virgin land having been cleared and ripped, 466 hectares of which have been planted to sugarcane,” the company said.