ZAMBIA – Zambia Sugar Plc is expected to double its sugar production following an investment of over K520 million in its operation.

The implementation of the project, which will also support smallholder sugar cane farmers, has been prompted by increased demand for refined sugar from both the domestic and regional markets and is expected to create about 400 jobs during construction phase.

Zambia Sugar managing director Rebecca Katowa said on Wednesday at the launch of product alignment and refinery project that the development will also increase annual sugar production capacity from the current 420,000 tonnes to 450,000 tonnes through a range of smaller factory improvement.

Ms Katowa said: “Zambia Sugar has made a major investment at its Nakambala sugar operations which will give further impetus to the development of Zambian smallholder cane farmers and provide employment opportunities for local people during the construction phase scheduled for completion in 2016.

“The project cost amounts to in excess of K522 million [US$82 million], funded by debt finance largely sourced from within Zambia itself and from Zambia Sugar’s own available cash resources.”

The project scope include the construction of modern, high-specification refinery to more than double the current annual refined sugar production capacity to about 100,000 tonnes.

She said the project consolidates the firm’s position as Africa’s single-biggest cane sugar producer and the increased cane supply for improved Nakambala factory will come from the Manyonyo out-grower scheme which will benefit about 145 individuals.

Officiating at the occasion, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said the expansion project underscores the private sector’s confidence in management of industrial and economic affairs in the country.

“This project is a good example of what Government has been saying all along… the need to diversify the economy. It goes without saying the country cannot continue relying on minerals for export earnings and job creation,” she said.

February 23, 2015;