Ray of Hope for Sugarcane Growers In Salima
Sugarcane growers selling their cane to Salima Sugar Company can this year at least afford a smile as the company has committed to buying 30,000 metric tonnes of Sugarcane as compared to 10,000 metric tonnes last year and fifteen thousand metric tonnes from small scale and medium scale farmers within the company estate.
This according to one of the Directors Bruhat Betgri, has been arrived at after discussions with the cane growers association and government and has also this year slightly adjusted upwards the buying price.
The company opened its factory this season on 29th June delayed with over a month due to Covid 19 as some workers were found Covid 19 positive and now are all well.
"We are progressing well, we have started producing, we have had discussions with farmer association that we have agreed to buy at least thirty thousand metric tonnes from the out-growers and we are expecting to produce over twenty thousand metric tonnes of Sugar this year," said Betgiri.
He added that downsizing of the number of expatriates this year will have an impact on production saying they wanted to bring in at least seventy eight but government allowed only forty exerting pressure on them looking at how complicated the machines are.
However, while commending the company for the commitment and early purchasing of cane from out-growers a representative of farmers in the task force between, government, the company, and farmers, Noel Mateyu says they will still have a deficit of 30, 000 metric tonnes of Sugarcane.
Mateyo says there is also an improvement in terms of time saying last year they started supplying cane very late but this year just a week after opening they have already started supplying cane.
"The company has to improve on the prices, they are buying at 27,000 kwacha per tonne slightly higher from last year but it is still on a lower side considering the expenses farmers are incurring with price hikes of most things," Mateyo said.
The Salima Sugar Company in its sixth year of production is the second sugar Producer in the Country after Illovo, creating competition on the market which is believed to be beneficial to the consumer.