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Sugar shortage surfaces

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The local market has been hit by a sugar shortage with several retailers in the city going for days without the commodity.

A snap survey by NewsDay in the last few days indicated some of the branches of major retail outlets, including OK and TM, did not have the product on their shelves.

Zimbabwe Sugar Association chairperson Muchadeyi Masunda, however, downplayed the development saying: “There isn’t a sugar shortage as such. The demand for brown sugar ranges from 2 500 to 4 000 metric tonnes (mt) per month and no shortages have been reported.

“The demand for white sugar is 1 500mt per month. It’s quite possible there may be hiccups at Starafrica Corporation refineries.”

However, several customers said they had to move from one supermarket to the other in search of the commodity.

Addressing the ZSA forty-eighth annual general, in August Masunda said local sugar production is expected to continue on an upward trend to over 370 000mt in the 2011/12 season.

Masunda said production of sugar for the 2010/11 season stood at 334 288mt.

“The production of sugar during the 2010/11 season was adversely affected by the late opening of the Hippo Valley mill. The first phase of the rehabilitation of the Hippo Valley Estates mill was undertaken in the off-crop period early in 2010. Milling operations for the 2010/11 crop season for Hippo Valley Estates commenced on June 16 2010. The mill produced 131 920mt of sugar,” he said in August.

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