Hippo Valley issues bullish outlook on the back of improved rains

  • Company reports that one of the dams needed for irrigation activities is already full
  • Target of 70tons/ha from private farmland in the new season
  • This follows a 4% slump in sugar production in the nine months to 31 December 2020

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed sugarcane farming and milling company, Hippo Valley Estates Limited says the above normal rainfall received in the country this rainy season are set to improve on water security for the sugar cane production industry and consequently influence a surge production.

Sugar cane production is heavily dependent on irrigation and in a trading update for the nine months ended 31 December 2020, the company reported that its main sources of water were either at capacity or had retained enough water for improved production in the new year.

“The above-normal rainfall season experienced to date, has signifi­cantly enhanced water security for the industry. With Tugwi-Mukosi Dam spilling for the fi­rst time since its commissioning in May 2017, and Lake Mutirikwi at over 60% of its capacity, 75% of the sugar industry’s irrigated cane area, is adequately covered for at least three season,” the company chairperson Dan Marokane stated in the update.

“As a consequence, total industry sugar production for the forthcoming 2021/22 production season is forecast to increase on the back of projected improvements in yields, cane quality and milling efficiencies,” he continued.

The company also said that additional efforts were being made to maximize production through yield improvement on both company owned and private farms with a target of producing at least 70tons/ha on private farmers’ land.

In the nine months ended 31 December 2020, production by private farmers slumped by 14% from 687 472 tons in the same period in 2019 to 592 722 tons while the production on company land increased by 3% to 1 043 774 tons from 1 008 870 tons.

A further 55 439 tons of cane was sourced from third parties but that didn’t save the total tonnage of sugar produced from slumping by 4% from 212 004 tons produced in the comparative period in 2019 to 204 094 tons in the period under review.

Meanwhile, the company has said that it had cleared 2 700 hectares of virgin land for an expansion project titled Project Kilimanjaro, in partnership with Triangle Limited, the government and local banks.

Overall the project is targeting clearance of 4 000 hectares of land to be used as sugarcane plantations.

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