Illovo Sugar Plc responds swiftly on its surrounding communities in distress soon after Cyclone Ana

Though several of its sugarcane fields, irrigation infrastructure, dykes, estate roads, a number of staff houses and other non-irrigation infrastructure suffered severe damage due to the effects of Tropical Cyclone Ana, Illovo Sugar Plc responded swiftly on its surrounding communities in distress who were and are facing devastating impacts.

A statement from the company says to date it has provided tents and piped water to the flood victims; refurbished a maize mill to enable communities to continue processing maize for food and set up the continuing supply of potable (drinking) water to the estate villages and Nchalo trading centre.

The company also completed the temporary repair of the Nchalo/Bereu road to allow for easy movement between Nchalo and Chikwawa boma; worked in close cooperation with the Government to repair the Nchalo/Chikwawa road and with ESCOM to restore power.

In the statement, Illovo Sugar’s stakeholder relations manager, Olive Kawelama emphasized that Cyclone Ana greatly impacted the Lower Shire region bringing severe hardships to the many thousands of local inhabitants, including our their employees.

While the full impact has yet to be determined from the severe damage to the sugarcane fields, irrigation infrastructure, dykes, estate roads, a number of staff houses and other non-irrigation infrastructure, “we are pleased to report that fortunately, the factory and warehouse together with the sugar that was in storage, has not been affected”.

“The estate is also supplying liquidated chlorine to the villages which are inaccessible by water bowsers. Given the situation and the vulnerability of the surrounding communities, we will continue to monitor closely developments in order to detect any outbreak of water borne diseases.

“It goes without saying we remain in close contact with all of the traditional and other leaders in the Nchalo and will continue to work directly with them, their structures, as well as locally-based NGO’s and government agencies to bring relief to this region.

“It is in the spirit of living our Thriving Malawian Community purpose that we strive to play a meaningful role in the communities where we are located.”

Kawelama emphasized that Illovo is committed to its involvement in the relief efforts and encourages “those who are capable but are yet to get involved in the relief effort to consider doing so at the earliest opportunity”.

“There are still many urgent needs that have yet to be addressed,” she said.

Illovo Sugar Malawi group is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) and Illovo Sugar Africa Proprietary Limited (Illovo), through Sucoma Holdings Limited, holds 76% of the issued share capital with the balance of the shares being held by the public and other institutional investors.

Illovo Sugar Africa is the continent’s largest sugar producer with extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six African countries – Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.

Illovo Sugar Africa is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF), in the United Kingdom.

The company has developed considerable agricultural and milling assets at the Dwangwa estate situated in the mid-central region of the country at Nkhotakota and at the Nchalo Estate in the south at Chikwawa.

Both factories produce raw and refined sugar with the Nchalo factory also manufacturing value-added specialty sugars, which are sold into the local direct consumption market and fortified with Vitamin A to help eliminate micronutrient deficiency particularly in children less than five years of age.

Illovo Sugar Malawi spends K1.1 billion for the fortification program benefitting an estimated two million people.

It is one of the country’s largest single private-sector employer providing direct employment for 9,000 people permanent, seasonal and casual employees and an additional 5,000 direct and indirect contractors creating a total of 14,000 jobs.

Illovo is also a major contributor to the Malawian tax authorities through direct and indirect taxes. It generates valuable foreign exchange through export sugar sales.

Many local industries are dependent upon Illovo for their viability and the employment created by these businesses provides an income base for many more families than are directly employed.

The company further supports an estimated 5,200 smallholder cane farmers through various smallholder schemes.

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