HARARE-Hippo Valley said it has adequate sugar stocks in place to meet demand, allaying fears of shortfalls and possible arbitrage.
Speaking on the sidelines of the company’s AGM in Harare on Tuesday, the company’s CEO Sydney Mtsambiwa said Hippo has up to 6 months stocks cover and current stocks will run out at the end of March 2018.
By the time stocks run down Hippo would have begun sugar production from the 2017-18 season in time to assure stocks replenishment.
The company expects to perform in line with its target. In the prior year, which was buoyed by above average rainfall, Hippo produced 228,683 tons of sugar as cane deliveries went up. This production level accounts for almost 70% of total Zimbabwe sugar demand.
An early assessment shows that sugar industry production in the 2017/18 season is expected to range between 421 000 tons and 440 000 tons.
This supply level despite coming in lower relative to the 2016/17 outturn of 454 000, is however enough to cover local demand which is estimated to remain stable at 343 000 tons. Total industry milling capacity is however much higher at 640,000 tons per annum.
The 2017/18 crop will likely be impacted by reduced irrigation and limited replanting. On the upside, current dam levels, following the good rains in the 2016/17 season, will provide full irrigation during the 2017/18 season.
Panic buying has gripped Zimbabwe against noticeable fuel and cooking oil shortfalls in the market. Speculation has led to increased demand across a wider set of goods in turn driving spurring prices upwards.
The RBZ says it will cool off the market pressure in the next few days, sentiments echoed by the President although he largely remained defiant that supplies were manipulated and that shortages in the market are artificial.