New mill to create over 6 500 jobs
BIG BEND - The proposed fourth sugar mill in Swaziland is expected to create over 6 500 job opportunities.
The new mill would be known as Newco Sugar Milling Company (PTY) ltd.
This was revealed by Mavela Sigwane who is the Sugar Mill establishment coordinator. The mill which is already registered with the Registrar of Companies in the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade will cost over E2.6 billion and it will be constructed at Nsoko, Big Bend.
This mill will be the first in the country to be established by only Swazis and is expected to be constructed in three years time.
The project will be a joint venture between Nsoko Commercial Farmers and smallholder sugar cane growers from five surrounding chiefdoms. According to Sigwane, in a presentation of the project he made to the Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini and Cabinet ministers, the smallholder farmers will be shareholders of the business.
The chiefdoms involved include those from kaNgcamphalala, kaGasawaNgwane, kaMyeni, KaMngometulu and kaMatsenjwa.
"Regarding job opportunities, the setting up of the mill will see 450 people employed, and there will be 5 000 direct job opportunities to be created in agriculture development," Sigwane said.
He added that the agricultural infrastructure development component included land deve-lopment and setting up irrigation infrastructure. He added that about 1 000 people from surrou-nding areas will be employed as labourers at the cane fields.
Further, he said the project was aimed at socio-economic development of the country, especially the Southern part of Lubombo region.
"We are not commercially driven but we aimed at alleviating poverty in this part of the country which is among the worst areas which are poverty stricken in the country," he said.
He explained that in showing that the project was not commercially driven, farmers from all the five chiefdoms involved in the project had been given free Title Deed Land (TDL) measuring over 7 500 hectors and a Memorandum of Unders-tanding (MoU)between Nsoko Commercial farmers and the concerned chiefs was signed.
"The chiefs signed on behalf of the farmers," he explained.
Moreover, Sigwane said the establishment of the mill was initiated mainly to cut transport costs incurred by Nsoko Commercial farmers and some smallholder farmers from Lavumisa.
He said the issue of transport costs was so serious that studies revealed that all farmers could stop farming between 2013/2014 seasons if nothing was done to solve the problem once and for all.
Illustrating, Sigwane said there are over 4 000 hectors under plantation currently and they cost farmers over E30 million per season to haul them from the fields to Ubombo Sugar Mill which is a distance of 40 kilometres away.
Sigwane said the E30 million paid for transport is about 23 per cent of their annual turnover. The smallholder farmers on the other hand are said to be paying over E2 million per season on transport only.
"Considering the large amount of money lost to transport, we then decided to find solutions on how we can cut down the costs we incur, and then we came with this sugar mill dream," he reiterated.
... presentation also made in Brazil
BIG BEND – A presentation of the proposed Newco Sugar Milling Company to be established at Nsoko Big Bend has been made in Brazil and Kuwait.
The envisaged sugar mill which will cost over E2.6 billion is supposed to take shape in three years time.
Project Coordinator Mavela Sigwane said the presentation made as far as the two aforementioned countries were aimed at luring potential investors into the project. However, he was non-committal in giving more details on what was the response. Troy Minne, Nisela Farms Manager, said the project will come with different socio benefits to the people of the southern Lubombo. He said the mill, if it could be supported will extensively contribute to job creation, poverty alleviation; improve agricultural profitability and sustainability of current commercial farmers.
"The project will boost investor confidence in the country," Minne said. He added that if government and other stakeholders could support the project it can become a reality because land was available to maximise sugar cane production in the area to make the project sustainable. "The fact that we have 483 homesteads in all the involved chiefdoms, that means over 64 000 people will benefit from this project," he added. This is when looking at the dependency ratio.
- BREAK UP THE ELECTRICITY SECTOR
- ACCOMMODATION PACKAGES FOR STORM FESTIVAL
- SIKELELA HAILED FOR EXCELLENT JUDGING AT CHORAL FINALS
- E5 000 TENDER FRUSTRATES CONSTRUCTION
- CATTLE FARMERS TO SHARE E359 000 BONUS FROM SMI