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Friday, July 19, 2024

Second Republic pledges to address challenges affecting the sugar industry

Story by Gay Matambo

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the sugar industry through continuous engagements with key stakeholders in the sector as part of efforts to establish long term solutions to challenges that the industry is grappling with.

In an interview with ZBC News at Tongaat Hulett’s Hippo Valley Mill in Chiredzi this Monday, Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Ezra Chadzamira said government is working round the clock to ensure that the challenges threatening the viability of the sugar industry are addressed.

“This was a follow up meeting of the previous engagement we had on the 4th of May. We are trying to ensure that all parties, the farmers, the miller and the workers reach common ground,” noted Honourable Chadzamira.

“From the previous meeting, there were agreements which were made and I’m glad to say that the meetings are bearing fruit. Tongaat Hullet has agreed to raise the wages of the workers.”

“The farmers and Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe have also agreed on an interim cane purchase price pending the outcome of the final engagements between THZ and the out-growers on the cane purchase agreement final price for the 2023-2024 sugar cane cropping season,” he added.

Addressing Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe workers, ZANU PF Masvingo Provincial Chairperson, Cde Robson Mavenyengwa stressed the importance of a motivated labour force in the nation’s quest to attain national development goals.

“I have been talking to the Minister of State and your employer that these workers also need residential stands to build their homes apart from raising their wages,” he said.

“I know that the government, which is led by a listening President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa will surely deliver. It is important for employers to provide for a conducive working environment for their employees,” Cde Mavenyengwa went on.

Since the commencement of the 2023 sugar cane cropping season, farmers have been up in arms with Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe over the skewed payment method for their produce while the workforce has raised concern over working conditions.

It is against this background that government has been engaging all the key stakeholders in the sugar industry since the 4th of this month as part of efforts to come up with lasting solutions to these challenges.

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