By Bester Kayaye
Salima Sugar Company says it is fast-tracking preparations to resume sugar production from Saturday, May 7, 2022 due to current shortages of the commodity on the Malawi market.
The Company has been in off-season from March this year in order to plan, strategise, and review as well as carry out a maintenance programme on its plant, and was expected to commence production on May 14, 2022.
But theCompany Secretary Dr. Charles Thupi acknowledged to have received reports from their distributors of low stocks of sugar in many depots across Malawi which has prompted the company to fast-track preparations to resume production.
Thupi said; “As of now we have received reports of low volumes of our sugar in most of our distributors’ depots, and as a measure to address this inadequacy we have resolved to fast-track our preparations to resume production so initially we intended to commence production in two weeks’ time, but with the current development, we will start this weekend.”
In terms of distribution chain, Thupi highlighted that their sugar is mainly distributed by retail chain stores such as SANA, Chipiku and Kulima Gold since they are not mandated to facilitate their own distribution process under fair trade policy.
“As a Company we do not have a distribution license because we cannot be manufactures and retailers at the same time, hence we rely on these distributors to ensure that our product is widely accessed across the country. But having seen the gap we will open up to more distributors so that our product is evenly distributed.” he said
He also hinted that the company is looking into prospects of increasing its production capacity in order to meet the increased demand of the product against the current capacity.
Thupi said; “The current challenge we have is a high demand of the product and looking at our machinery, production capacity is still on the lower side, therefore we are liaising with our colleagues in government to expand our plant.”
Meanwhile, Salima Sugar Company crushes about 250 thousand metric tonnes of cane yearly which produces a range of 25 thousand to 30 thousand metric tonnes of sugar.
The company has 4,000 hectares of land and currently, 1,000 hectares of land is under cultivation. The farm and factory are located in the shores of Lake Malawi and flood and pivot irrigation is used for sugarcane crop.