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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday inaugurated a refinery producing white sugar, at the sugar mill in Xinavane, in Maputo province, owned by the South African company Tongaat Hulett.
Using state-of-the-art technology, the refinery can produce 90,000 tonnes of white sugar a year, to supply industries, inside the country and abroad, that require highly refined sugar.
Mozambique consumes over 70,000 tonnes of white sugar a year, around 90 per cent of which is imported. The Xinavane refinery should put an end to these imports. Soft drinks companies, notably the Mozambican factories of the Coca-Cola Company, should now be able to acquire their refined sugar from a Mozambican concern rather than importing it.
Speaking at a rally in Xinavane town shortly after inaugurating the refinery, Nyusi said the new factory will have a major impact on the Mozambican economy, and on the lives of sugar farmers, whose cane is purchased by the Xinavane company. Currently small farmers in Manhica and Magude districts supply about 20 per cent of the cane used by the company.
“With the production of refined white sugar in Mozambique, the country will save the foreign exchange that was used to import this product”, the President declared. “Right now, the Mozambican companies that use this product will have white sugar that is refined in Mozambique”.
“The refinery that Tongaat Hulett has installed will also stimulate the agricultural sector”, Nyusi continued. “I am talking about placing cane sugar at a competitive price, and improving the lives of sugar workers and their families”.
By building the refinery, he continued, Tongaat Hulett had shown that its policy “is in line with the five year programme of the Mozambican government, which consists in investing for development, in a perspective of increasing the production base, and improving the quality of the various goods processed in the country”.
For his part, Bahle Sibisi, the chairperson of the Tongaat Hulett group, said that the white sugar refinery reflects the commitment of his company to the future of the Mozambican sugar industry and of Mozambican agriculture. He also recognised the efforts of the Mozambican government to create a business environment that supports investment.
“The continual investments by Tongaat Hulett in the Mozambican sugar industry seek to support economic growth, by promoting domestic production and improving the balance of trade”, said Sibisi. “We at Tongaat Hulett are pleased with this investment, which will assist the government in its goal of increasing domestic production and reducing imports”.
It took 18 months to build the refinery. In the construction phase, 605 workers were employed, 436 of them Mozambicans. In the operational phase, there will be 90 permanent jobs at the refinery.
Production from the refinery is expected to be sufficient to meet the domestic demand for white sugar for the next seven to ten years.
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