The South African agro-processing company will coordinate the scheme, which will see 362 farmers from Xinavane, in Maputo province, divided into five associations, growing sugar cane on 520 hectares (ha) of land, with 30ha set aside for cultivating food crops.
The sugar cane grown will be sold to Tongaat-Hulett for processing at its Xinavane mill, providing a guaranteed market for the farmers, who will also receive extension services and training in farm management skills from the firm.
It is hoped that the project, which is funded to the tune of around US$4.3mn by the European Union (EU) and the Botswana-based ABC Bank, will enable the farmers to achieve yields of 100 tonnes per hectare, with the first harvests expected within 14 months.
Project director Sancho Cumbe said the scheme will be mutually beneficial, as the supply of cane to Tongaat-Hulett’s Xinavane factory will increase, and a viable small-scale agricultural sector will be created in the area, providing a substantial boost to rural employment.
Tongaat-Hulett claims to be the largest private sector employer Mozambique, with two mills and plantations employing 17,000 people at peak production times.