Hippo still to make delivery of US sugar export quota

Roadwin Chirara


HIPPO Valley Estates Ltd is still to export 12 500 tonnes of sugar to the United States under Zimbabwe’s export quota

system.


The sugar, valued at US$3,5 million, was allocated for the period between October 1 2003 and September 31 this year.


“Zimbabwe was allocated a quota of 12 500 tonnes into the US market for the quota period 1 October 2003 to 31 September 2004,” said Anglo spokesperson Ezra Kanganga.


Hippo is a subsidiary of Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe Ltd.

Kanganga however said the company was awaiting a response from the US embassy’s State department, which is still to approve the company’s certificate of quota eligibility.


He said this would allow a much easier entry of sugar into the US market.

Commenting on fears of an imminent sugar shortage, Kanganga said Hippo had sufficient supplies for local consumption.


“There will be sufficient sugar to meet domestic market requirements for the 2004/2005 supply period,” he said.


The fears were raised after Hippo recorded low production levels as reported in the company’s annual report for 2003.


Kanganga said Hippo would extend its milling season into November to try and meet market demand.


He said cane out-growers who supply the company’s mills had begun to deliver their harvests to the mill.


“The 2004 sugar milling season commenced in late April and will run until November 2004,” Kanganga said. “All suppliers have commenced deliveries to the mill.”


On the issue of erratic supplies of wagons and locomotives from the National Railways of Zimbabwe, he said the situation had improved.

Kanganga said the situation had greatly improved the transportation of sugar to the refineries in Bulawayo and Harare.


Hippo at the same time noted the improved movements to the port of Beira in Mozambique of their product destined for export.


Kanganga said the recent listing of Mkwasine and part of Hippo Valley Estates for acquisition was still being negotiated with the stakeholders.


“Consultations are ongoing with government to secure a de-listing of Hippo Valley and Mkwasine Estates,” he said.


In its annual report Hippo said the legal dispute on ownership of cane and, therefore, payment for cane delivered to the Hippo Valley mill between some A2 farmers and commercial cane farmers remained unresolved.


“All proceeds from the disputed cane purchases were paid over to the High Court in accordance with the provisions of the interpleader proceedings,” Hippo said.


“To date a total of $1,8 billion has been paid over to the High Court for the disputed cane, whilst $2,5 billion has been paid directly to A2 farmers whose cane is not in dispute. Discussions are ongoing with all parties concerned, to secure a lasting resolution of this complex matter as soon as possible.”