Zambia Sugar, a subsidiary of the Illovo Group, has recorded an 8% drop in production. The company attributed the drop to challenging climatic conditions.
“Miller-cum-planter cane supplied 1.158 million ton, at average of 115 tons per hectare, while out-growers supplied a total of 915 500 tons at an average of 117 tons per hectare. This represents 8% drop on previous season’s yields.
“Cane production continues to be challenged by climatic conditions, including prior season drought followed by abnormally high summer rainfall,” read part of the company’s latest audited financial report.
The report says the situation was aggravated by outbreaks of pests, including yellow sugar cane aphid and black maize beetle.
GLOBAL SUGAR PRICE LOW
Last year’s erratic power supply, exacerbated by illegal sugar imports, also had a negative effect on the company’s performance in the five months period to 31 August 2017.
On growth projections, the company says it will continue to grow the regional exports despite margins being under pressure from global sugar price lows.
No dividend was declared owing to the major capital investment in a new refinery, high debt levels and the continued tough business environment.
Last month the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) fined Zambia Sugar K76 million for alleged discrimination and unfair pricing, an allegation it denies.