Zimbabwe News

Chiredzi West MP calls for sugarcane to be designated as ‘strategic crop’

Chiredzi West MP Darlington Chiwa (ZANU PF) has pleaded with the government to declare commercially produced sugarcane a strategic crop to ensure the sugar industry is protected.

As reported by NewsDay, Chiwa made the remarks at the end of the media tour of Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe sugar plantations and mills in the Lowveld on Friday last week.

A strategic crop refers to an agricultural crop that is considered crucial to a country or region’s economic, political, or national security interests.

Chiwa said the Sugar Production and Control Act of 1964 should have been amended soon after independence in 1980 to move with current economic trends. He said:

We appeal for a current sugar policy so that it is a strategic crop. How can we sponsor tobacco when people are starving yet the sugar industry can easily do better if given a chance with better policies?

The sugar industry must be declared a strategic crop that cannot be affected by electricity load-shedding, among other incentives.

We need policy changes, not political statements, so that our farmers are protected. We continue to appeal to the government so that the sector can help limit imports that are flooding our markets.

Tongaat Hulett chief executive Tendai Masawi said that he was focused on increasing productivity by buying new equipment at the company’s two operations in the Lowveld, that is, Hippo Valley and Triangle. Said Masawi:

If production is boosted, we aim to adequately supply our domestic markets and help eradicate imports that have dominated the economy of late.

He said the sugar industry employed about 16,000 workers and is the second largest employer in the country after the government.

The media tour attracted editors and journalists from both local and international news organisations across the country.

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