The European Union has to date contracted €18 million (US$23,4 million) under its Zimbabwe Sugar Adaption Strategy while a remaining €13,4 million (US$17,4 million) will be contracted this year.
Of that amount €4.7 million will be contracted for the national land audit.
According to figures from the EU mission to Zimbabwe, the EU has made a total of €31,4 million (approx US$41 million) available for the implementation of the Zimbabwe Sugar Adaptation Strategy. The actual implementation of the strategy started in 2008 and is expected to end in 2015 or at the latest in 2016.
The strategy is designed to; increase sugarcane production by out-growers to improve cane transport facility from out-growers fields to the sugar mills, environmental protection of Runde river catchment area to avoid siltation of dams and waterways, increase of water-holding capacity of certain dams, and improvement of health facilities of Chiredzi district general hospital.
Last year total trade between the EU and Zimbabwe amounted to €609 million (around US$791 million) with a positive trade balance of €132 million (around US$171,5 million) in favour of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe exported to the EU, €370,85 million (around US$482 million) and imported from the EU goods to a total value of €237,97 million (around US$309,37 million).
The mission said as EU is a traditional importer of minerals, agricultural products and other raw materials that are produced in Zimbabwe, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) would stimulate the exports volumes by making use of the Duty Free Quota Free access to the EU.
An end to sugar quotas in the bloc, expected by the EU Council as early as 2017, may promote trade of the sweetener within Africa, according to Bloomberg research.
“There is a deficit of sugar in Africa, yet producers still export to Europe and import from Brazil,” Edward George, head of soft-commodities research at Ecobank, said in an April 17 interview in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. “This will change if and when Europe bans quotas.”
Producers in the EU, the world’s largest sugar importer, can by law only sell a limited amount in the common economic area, and some local demand must be met by duty-free shipments from African, Caribbean and Pacific states that have preferential access to the market.
Africa produces less than it needs, according to the International Sugar Organisation. The council, which represents governments of EU member states, wants an end to quotas in 2017, while the European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, has proposed limits should end two years earlier.
The European Parliament voted to extend the quoters to 2020. All three are negotiating the quotas from April 11 to June 20, Martin van Driel, team leader for sugar issues at the commission, said yesterday.
The curbs restrict sales to 13 million metric tons in the 27-nation bloc, which has faced sugar shortages in the past two seasons after imports from nations with preferential accords fell short of estimates.
The EU will produce 17.6 million tons of sugar in the 2012-13 season that starts in October, the Commission said in a June 28 report on its website, 19% less than a year earlier.