Limphasa Sugar Corporation earlier this year announced an initial investment of $40 million (about K7 billion) at its sugar plantations, poised to emerge as Malawiâ€™s second biggest sugar production investment after Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Limited.
On the other hand, Ntalimanja Sugar Corporationâ€™s proprietor, Napoleon Dzombe said this week they are taking long to start as they are waiting for the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to approve their application for foreign currency, through National bank of Malawi, to pay experts from India to install the plant.
In an interview last week in Blantyre, secretary for Malawiâ€™s Ministry of Industry and Trade Newby Kumwembe said if these companies come on board, they will compliment Illovo Sugar Malawi Limited which has plans to increase sugar production in Malawi.
“We believe that while all the sugar being produced by Illovo can meet the demand in the country, there is also a regional demand for the product,” he said.
10 tonnes a day
Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Limited produces about 300 000 tonnes of sugar every year, 60 percent of which is sold domestically and the remainder is exported to the European Union (EU) and regional markets.
But Dzombe said they will initially start by producing 10 tonnes of sugar per day and are proposing to start with 1 000 farmers.
He said their mini plant is solely meant for production of sugar for the domestic market.
“We are planning to have another big plant for the export market. Many parties have become interested in the big plant project so that we can help in addressing the problems the country is currently facing,” said Dzombe.
On their part, Limphasa Sugar Corporationâ€™s spokesperson Kirit Thakrar earlier said the project, which started in 2008, has been expanding its sugarcane fields in the Limphasa Valley.
Limphasa, touted to emerge as Malawiâ€™s second biggest sugar production investment after Illovo, initially started with three hectares in 2008 but now has expanded to about 600 hectares. In the next two years, Limphasa plans to cover 1 500 hectares.
Thakrar said they are promoting smallholder farmers to plant sugarcane for sale to the new companyâ€™s mill.
Limphasa has 160 workers and plans to go full throttle in 2013 when the new ultra-modern factory, with an initial production capacity of 90 000 tonnes of raw sugar, will be commissioned, said Thakrar.
He said Limphasa has already found export markets where most of the sugar will be exported and earn the country more than $50 million (about K8.3 billion) annually.
The company plans to package its sugar in one tonne bags for exports to the international market, whereas 25 kilogrammes and 50 kilogramme bags will be sold to the regional markets.
Earlier, the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) which is facilitating the flow of investments into the country, among others, described the Limphasa project as critical to Malawi because it will help to generate the much-needed forex.
“Five similar projects of this nature in Malawi could surpass what tobacco is currently generating in the country in terms of forex. As MITC, we are impressed with what Limphasa is doing because it will help the country realise import substitution,” said Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbambe.