Govt bans Illovo from exporting sugar


In a bid to increase the availability of sugar on the local market, the Malawi Government has through the Ministry of Trade and Industry banned Illovo Sugar from exporting sugar.

This was disclosed on Saturday, May 7 when the Trade and Industry minister Mark Katsonga Phiri visited Nchalo Illovo factory to appreciate the situation on the ground in as far as sugar production in the country is concerned.

Speaking to journalists after visiting the factory and sugarcane fields, Katsonga said he appreciate efforts by Illovo management in trying to combat sugar scarcity on the local market.

The Minister, however, gave Illovo a seven day ultimatum to flood the local market with enough sugar and he has since directed the company to stop selling the product to other countries up until the availability of sugar in the country, stabilizes.

“Government’s position on this issue is that there should be no more sugar exports until the local market is fully supplied, we will not allow any export up until this is reviewed and the commitment I have gotten from the Illovo CEO here, they will surely do that.

“I am giving Illovo sugar company seven days from today to normalize sugar productions and sugar supply on the local market that means by the next weekend, sugar availability should be back to normal and government will keep a watch on this,” directed Katsonga.

However, Illovo Sugar Malawi plc Managing Director Lekani Katandula, attributed the sugar scarcity to loss of 40, 106 tons of canes through Cyclone Ana induced floods but assured Malawians that they have started supplying the local market.

According to Katandula, the company is now supplying the local market with at least 700 tons of sugar against the recommended quantity of 500 tones which is supplied on a daily basis and hopes the intervention will see things normalizing by this week.

Reacting to the minister’s banning of sugar exports, the Managing Director said since there were reports of sugar shortages in the country three weeks ago, the company already restricted itself from exporting the product.

“We did not wait for the minister to come and suspend the exports until the domestic market is fully supplied, we did it on our own because the domestic market is our priority, we don’t need the minister to come and suspend the exports when there is shortage of sugar.

“Let me reaffirm our commitment to adequately supply sugar into all the markets in Malawi, that is our commitment and within the one week ultimatum given by the minister, all the markets will be fully supplied, Malawians should not panic,” said Katandula.

He then complained about fuel scarcity at the company a development which he said will soon result into extreme sugar shortages on the local market if not rectified with urgency.

“Our supplies of fueling is running very low, so this is something that we are flagging to say if not rectified quickly, we will have the sugarcane and everything but unable to move the sugarcane to the factory and we need a help on this, otherwise this is the next ingredient that stops us from making sugar,” complained Katandula.

In his reaction to the complaint, Katsonga assured the sugar producing company that the country has enough fuel and said the Malawi government will do everything to making sure that Illovo Sugar Malawi plc has enough fuel at all cost.


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