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Sugar cane farmers’ income triples in Chikwawa

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Income of farmers under Phata Sugar cane Outgrowers Cooperative in Chikwawa has increased from an average of 150 to about 500.

The development follows the implementation of the European Union (EU), funded sugar cane project under phase one which started in 2012.

The cooperative with 438 household members secured EU funding in 2012 to the tune of 2.4 million euros, and they used it to develop 300 hectares of sugar cane and an additional 10 hectares under irrigated food crops to provide food security to members.

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Phata Sugar cane Managing Director, Bouke Bijl, said since the cane was planted, the cooperative has been registering good revenues, hence increasing income levels of the beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the European EU has expressed satisfaction at the progress of the cooperative and has since commissioned the second phase of the project worth about 2.1 euros.

Speaking on Wednesday when commissioning the cooperative’s second phase, EU Ambassador to Malawi, Marchel Gerrmann, said it is encouraging that phase one of the project has tripled income of farmers.

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Gerrmann said the community is registering a number of developments with most of the households living in decent houses and also supporting children to go and remain in school.

“Today, we are commissioning the second phase of this project which will roughly benefit 700 farmers’ families. We see the effects already with more iron sheet roofs and investment in public utilities. EU wants to be a partner for growth in Malawi and this project is a testimony to that,” said Gerrmann.

Bijl has since described the launch of the second phase of the project as a milestone in ensuring that they harvest more than 100, tonnes sugar cane per hectare which is equivalent to about 14 tonnes of sugar per hectare.

The second phase which started in 2015 to the tune of about 2.1 euros is expected to end in September this year. Among other machines installed under this phase include lift and booster water pumps.

The group sells the sugar cane to Illovo where the farmers get 60 percent while Illovo get 40 percent.

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