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MBABANE - Ubombo Sugar Limited is faced with an irrigation equipment theft that has affected their business.

9 200 hectares of land owned by Ubombo is 100 per cent irrigated and have a total of 118 centre pivots installed around the fields, which are a target. This was mentioned by Ubombo Sugar Ltd Corporate Affairs Director Leonard Ndzimandze at Mountain View Hotel yesterday. Ndzimandze said the theft activities escalated post COVID-19, as they were still recovering from the setbacks caused by the industrial actions and economic disruptions that took place last year. He said this led to Ubombo hiring personnel for each of the 118 pivots installed in the fields, to ensure they were not stolen, as it was costly to replace them.


The corporate affairs director added that sugar theft was also a challenge to their business, he said trucks ferrying sugar to Maputo and Mlawula faced numerous predicaments in their journey. “The volumes of sugar that leave the depot are equivalent to the number recorded at the destination,” he said. To mitigate the situation, Ndzimandze said they have hired a private investigator to research more about the challenge, which poses a risk to the market targets.
He further mentioned that attacks on sugar cane trucks, poaching, attacks on rangers looking after the conservancy and illegal fishing in dams and canals (risk of drowning and attack by hippos and crocodiles) were also challenges to their business.

“The sugar industry is one of the key players in the economy of Eswatini and in our quest to generate energy locally.” This was mentioned by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Manqoba Khumalo, when he was formerly introduced to the new Ubombo Limited Managing Director (MD), Muzi Siyaya, at Hilton Inn Hotel last year.


Khumalo informed the MD that there was a possibility that Eswatini would not be receiving electricity from South Africa, beyond 2025. He said this was a challenge and an opportunity for locals to generate more power. The minister said the sugar industry was a major player in their quest to increase the local generation of electricity. Khumalo tasked Siyaya and Ubombo Sugar to work on increasing the biomass production in order to contribute to the grid.

“One of the challenges that we have in energy is that biomass would be a very significant contribution to the country after 2025; hence, we are looking at renewable forms of energy,” he said. Khumalo added that acceleration of the sugar strategy by Ubombo Sugar was imperative to expanding the sugar market.

He told Siyaya that diversifying into the production of sugar products would also increase their market base and keep the industry active. Ubombo Country MD Muzi Siyaya said working with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and trade is imperative to the company. He said Ubombo played an important role in the socio-economic environment of Eswatini, as they had employed more than 2 000 individuals.  He added that LUSIP II was important to the industry as well as addressing some of the issues currently faced locally.

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