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Investors being assessed for Salima sugar project

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The Malawi government is currently assessing various prospective investors for the Salima sugar project being implemented under the Green Belt Irrigation Initiative (GBI).

GBI acting coordinator, Henrie Njoloma, told reporters during a media tour of some projects under the initiative on Monday that following an investor scooping mission by Malawian officials in India and South Africa, five companies were identified and are currently being assessed for the project.

“We didn’t get good bidders locally, so we decided to go abroad,” said Njoloma.

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He said the assessment is currently being undertaken on the first on the list, Ogale Group from India, and that there is one more company from India on the list in addition to three from South Africa.

The South African companies include Transvaal Sugar Board and Tongaat Hulet, according to Njoloma.

He said the government decided to go for completely new bidders instead of just offering it to Illovo Sugar to bring competition in the sugar production sector.

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“We want to have another investor to run the proposed plant,” said Njoloma.

According to Njoloma, the new sugar factory, whose construction has been estimated at US$40 million, is expected to produce 1,250 tonnes of sugar per day once commissioned.

Apart from the core grower and project, the project will also include smallholder farmers who shall sell sugarcane to the plant in an effort to economically empower communities.

According to the Muhammad Hussein, Project Execution Manager for the company constructing the plant, the sugar factory is expected to be completed by August.

“Construction has been going on well part from some cases of theft of construction materials,” Hussein said.

About 300 Malawians have been employed in the construction project, with key technical staff coming from India. The project is being financed with a loan from the Indian government.

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