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June 27, 2011

Zimbabwe sugar cane farmers expect bigger harvest over 2010

Sugarcane farmers in Zimbabwe's Lowveld region are happy with the producer price of US$585 per tonne which millers are offering this season. Last season millers were buying the crop at US$525 per tonne.

Commercial Sugar Cane Association of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Darlington Chiwa said the new producer price would allow them to recoup production costs. ''The price is even higher than regional prices," he said.

Chiwa said the high returns would enable farmers to rehabilitate their plantations this year since some of them had already outlived their lifespan of 10 years.

Like cotton farmers, sugarcane producers are paid an initial price that would be topped up when prices firm on the international market where they are determined.

Sugarcane farmers are expecting to sell about 462 000 tonnes of the commodity this selling season, up from 413 000 tonnes last year.

Zimbabwe Sugar Cane Development Association secretary-general Mr Fafter Gono concurred with Mr Chiwa that the price was high enough for farmers to break even.

Prior to the land reform programme, sugarcane production was a monopoly of Tongaat Hullet, a South African company that still controls the milling and marketing of the crop.

Herald

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