BY MTHANDAZO NYONI Top Zimbabwean lawyer and corporate leader Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda has been elected as the deputy chairman of the International Sugar Organisation (ISO) administrative committee.
Masunda, who also heads the Zimbabwe Sugar Association, said his elevation was a huge milestone in that it was the first time, since the inception of the sugar industry in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
He said it was a first for Zimbabwe to not only serve on the ISO’s administrative committee, but also to assume the deputy chairmanship.
“I am humbled and pleased to accept the elevation to the giddy heights of representing my beloved country at that sort of level,” Masunda said.
“The accolade serves as a glowing and enduring tribute to all the enterprising men and women, who did all the heavy lifting so unstintingly in the Lowveld over the years in order to get the sugar industry in Zimbabwe off the ground and put it on the world map as a net exporter of raw sugar to the Sadc region, East and Central Africa as well as the United States of America.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and various stakeholders within the sugar industry for their support in spite of the odds, which have been heavily stacked against us in so many different ways.
“I would like to give an unequivocal pledge that I will leave no stone unturned in discharging my responsibilities with due decorum and diligence.”
Masunda, who is also the Alpha Media Holdings Editorial Advisory Board of Trustees chairman, said the ISO was a unique intergovernmental body which is devoted to improving conditions in the world’s sugar markets through debate, analysis, special studies, transparent and reliable statistics, seminars, conferences and workshops.
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He said the ISO’s proactive attitude to, for instance, included the production of ethanol from sugarcane had gone a long way towards enhancing the increasing role of biofuels in the future energy-mix worldwide.
“In Zimbabwe, we have witnessed impressive progress made by the symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship between the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) and the leading ethanol producers, Triangle Limited and Green Fuel, towards accomplishing the blending ratio of ethanol to petrol of 20% in accordance with the stipulated requirements of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera),” Masunda said.
“Fuel blending was introduced in our country for economic, social and environmental reasons which include energy security because blending of petrol with ethanol increases the country’s fuel pool and helps to reduce the overall cost of importing unleaded petrol.
“As a result of the blending process, the country has managed to effect considerable savings in terms of the much-needed foreign currency.”
The ISO, which is headquartered in London and has 87 member countries including Zimbabwe, was established in 1968.
Masunda’s election was done during the ISO council’s annual general meeting held in Fiji last week.
The ISO’s administrative committee consists of Australia; Dominican Republic, eSwatini, the EU bloc of 27 countries, Fiji, Guatemala, India, Republic of Korea,Mexico, The Philippines, Russian Federation,South Africa. Switzerland, Thailand,the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as Zimbabwe.