Illovo to resume sugar production in April


There are fears that the scarcity of sugar on the local market will continue as one of the producing companies, Illovo Sugar Malawi says all things being equal, it will fully resume sugar production in April this year.

Illovo Sugar Malawi Managing Director Lekani Katandula disclosed about the development on Friday, 16 February, 2024 at Mount Soche in Blantyre during an investor’s forum where financial results and business updates for the six months which ends on 20th February, 2024, were presented.

Katandula said if the country will not experience extreme weather events, the company is set to resume sugar production in April this year.

He added that before Malawi was hit by the sugar scarcity, the company already tipped the Ministry of Trade which expressed interest to issue licenses to foreign companies to cover the shortfall.

“We are definitely running short of sugar as a business but we’re not the only sugar maker locally. There is also Salima which by this time I would expect they must be running short as well and then the other element is how much sugar would come into the country.

“We did inform the Minister of Trade about possible sugar shortages before they actually showed up in the market and we are aware that they were exploring issuing licenses to other people that could import sugar fairly quickly into the country. I am not aware whether they were successful in doing that and therefore how much sugar is coming and when.

“That would be something that the Ministry would be better placed to address but in terms of our own sugar supply resumption at normal levels into the market we do expect to be backfilling the market by end of April because we expect to restart our factories by mid-April unless we have maybe extreme weather events that make it hard for us to harvest otherwise if the projected weather sustains, then mid-April we should be making sugar again,” explained Katandula.

Katandula attributed the scarcity of commodity on the market to a significant drop in production, as from September 2023 to February this year, the company has only managed to produce 77,000 tonnes of sugar compared to 119,000 tonnes of sugar which were produced in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Katandula has revealed that the company has registered profit reduction by 30 percent as it has made a profit of 25 billion kwacha as compared to 33.7 billion kwacha in the previous half financial year.