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RSSC’S E2 BILLION PLAN TO BOLSTER PRODUCTION

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MBABANE – The Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) has commenced the second phase of their Integrated Growth Programme (IGP) valued at E2 billion.


Group Public Affairs Manager Sifiso Nyembe said in a nutshell, the IGP was designed to increase production volumes using efficient methods and improved skill to lower the unit cost so that the business can survive in low price environments and thrive when prices are better.
“The overriding objective is to create a company that has the ability to continue creating shared value for all stakeholders for many years to come,” said Nyembe.


He explained that IGP first phase which was commissioned in May 2018 and  cost around E145 million, mainly focused on expanding out-grower land under cane by 1026 hectares in Mnyangombili and Mbombowendlovu.


He said this was aimed at ensuring that they did not only expand the internal supply but also ensure that the farmers in the community were also empowered through the European Union (EU) and RSSC initiative.  Nyembe explained that this had increased inbound cane and had brought with it about 100 new jobs.


Income


In the consolidated comprehensive income statement for the year ended March 31, 2019 it was disclosed that RSSC achieved record cane and sugar production during the 2018/19 season. Cane crushed at 3.7 million tonnes, was 15 per cent higher than cane crushed the previous year. It was mentioned that Estate Cane yields were higher at 112.9 tonnes of cane per hectare (tc/ha), as compared to 99.4 tc/ha for the comparative period.


It was stated that sugar production was at 505 575 tonnes, 96 º pol sugar was 16 per cent higher than 453 763 tonnes of 96º pol sugar produced in the previous year.  
Nyembe reported that alongside this, their Mhlume factory’s crushing capacity had been increased through increasing efficiency and reducing downtime, thus gaining about two weeks extra of crushing time per season.


“In the subsequent phases, the main focus will be on expanding RSSC land under cane, with a view to end up with about 3 600 hectares additional land under cane. Also the increase in the use of technology in the form of Internet of Things (IoT) will assist in the efforts to improve efficiencies across the business through the creation and access to reliable and accurate data for better and timely decision making,” added Nyembe. 


When asked to unpack developments currently taking place as part of the IGP second phase which commenced during the current financial year, how many job opportunities it has presented and any other benefits that would arise from successful completion of the project, Nyembe said the cost of the project was estimated to be over E2 billion.


Additional


Nyembe said it was quite difficult to precisely state how many new additional jobs this would bring because it was a combination of permanent and seasonal jobs and the expansion programme was also made of many various elements, some of which require new jobs, but others require re-skilling or reconfiguration of jobs.


“Once you increase land under cane, you will need more people working on the fields and you will require many outsourced services in the form of civil works and other elements that are required at the initial stages. So you will find more and more contractors getting work and creating jobs for others. We will need more fertilisers, piping and others. The expansion has many ripple effects,” added Nyembe.

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