Sugar producer, Hippo Valley Estates Limited (Hippo Valley) says work on the 4 000 hectare-cane development project dubbed the Project Kilimanjaro is gathering steam with 2 700 hectares already cleared and ripped to-date despite financial constraints.
The project, being pursued by Tongaat Hullet, Government of Zimbabwe and local banks, is expected to expand sugar cane plantations in Triangle and Hippo Valley estates in Chiredzi.
However, while new funding structures for completion of the project are being finalized, some 76 hectares and 700 hectares have been put to maize and sorghum respectively, with an additional 902 hectares of maize planted on the company fallow cane land as a break crop.
“Work on the 4 000 hectares cane development project (Project Kilimanjaro) being undertaken by the Company in partnership with Triangle Limited, Government and local banks, has seen a total of 2 700 hectares of virgin land being bush cleared and ripped, and 562 hectares planted to sugarcane in the prior year,” said Hippo Valley chairman Dan Marokane, in the company’s trading update for third quarter to December 2020.
Previously, the company reported that project works were slowed down on account of delays in obtaining the requisite funding from financial institutions, and lack of clarity on land tenure.
The company says it is currently pursuing funding structures for the finalization of the project.
“Whilst new funding structures for completion of the project are being finalized, some 76 hectares and 700 hectares were put to maize and sorghum respectively, in partnership with Government, as part of efforts to improve food security in the country,” said Marokane.
Meanwhile the Government has since assured the Company that it would be granted security of tenure by way of a 99 Year Lease on Hippo Valley North (23 979 hectares) whilst maintaining freehold title on Hippo Valley South (16 433 hectares).
“The requisite physical planning and administrative processes are currently underway and nearing completion, paving way for the issuance of the 99 Year Lease,” added Marokane.