SUGAR & CASHEWS

Mozambique 2020 | AGRICULTURE | B2B

With years of experience in their respective sub-sectors, both Condor Group and Tongaat Hulett are working around the clock to bring back the glory days of Mozambique's agriculture industry and reduce the country's import bill in the process.

Silvino Martins
SILVINO MARTINS
Chairman
Condor Group
Tendai Masawi
TENDAI MASAWI
Managing Director
Tongaat Hulett Mozambique

How has Condor Group evolved its activities in agroindustry?
SILVINO MARTINS Condor started its activities in 1998 in the civil and public construction sector. In 2004 we started our first agro-industrial venture. We considered cashew, as cashew as a crop has helped Mozambican farmers fight poverty for the past 90 years. Cashew used to be one of Mozambique's largest exports, and we saw the potential in revitalizing the sector. We started with a cashew-processing plant in Nametil with a capacity of 1,000 tons per year. We have since increased it to 3,000 tons. In 2008, we opened a new plant in Nametil with an initial capacity of 4,000 tons, which we eventually grew to 10,000 tons. Finally, in 2017 we built a plant in Macia, Gaza, with a capacity of 6,000 tons. We employ over 3,500 people, 70% of whom are women. Overall, we consider our experience in the agroindustry sector a success, and we have been pleased to contribute through our activities to the economy of Mozambique's northern provinces.

What is your contribution to development in Mozambique?
TENDAI MASAWI Tongaat Hulett Mozambique plays an extremely important economic and social role in Mozambique. Our two sugar factories in Mafambisse and Xinavane have a combined installed capacity of 340,000 tons, equal to 60% of the potential production in Mozambique. In terms of jobs, we have close to 10,000 employees. In fact, we are the largest private employer in the country. Through strategic sourcing for communities, we always ensure we procure from local Mozambicans when it comes to services. We also contribute socially in terms of educating local communities, providing drinking water, and supporting recreational activities and sports. We have also been able to assist in building three bridges for roadways. During the COVID-19 emergency, we teamed up with the Ministry of Health to establish isolation centers in the two hospitals near our operations and provide beds and equipment. We also bought around 50,000 face masks and 80,000 liters of ethanol to make sanitizers, all of which we have distributed between employees and the surrounding districts where we operate.

How can Mozambique regain its position as a leading exporter of cashews?
SM Global consumption of cashew is increasing by 5-7% annually, and Asian giants such as India and Vietnam are not increasing production. This leaves an incredible opportunity for African countries, such as Côte d'Ivoire or Mozambique, to support the growth in demand. We are now at a pivotal moment where, if the government, farmers, and all agribusiness players involved put their efforts together, we could triple our production in the next 10-15 years and make Mozambique one of the top producers in the world. For this to happen, Mozambique needs to increase its production through a proper reorganization of the industry. The main challenge lies in making cashew crops financially attractive to farmers, which can be done by increasing the output per hectare. If we reorganize production, we can increase earnings per hectare by three- or four-fold. The Minister of Agriculture is currently evaluating the right approach to reorganize the cashew industry, and hopefully we will manage to put all right conditions in place.

Can you tell us about your main markets?
TM We have three markets. One is the domestic consumer market, where we see great potential for growth. Sugar consumption in Mozambique is still low, at 8kg per year, compared to 36kg in South Africa or 24kg in Zimbabwe, but the prospects of macroeconomic growth will inevitably push consumption higher. From this perspective, Mozambique is a key market that will become increasingly important for the strategy of our group as a whole. We want to protect it by ensuring that the sugar we produce for mass consumers is vitamin fortified. The second is the industrial segment, predominantly composed of beverage companies. They used to import refined beverage sugar at a bottler level quality, but we have installed and commissioned a brand-new refinery to serve this industry; we can refine up to 90,000 tons of sugar annually, and in 2020 we will do up to 60,000 tons. Finally, there is the export market. We do have quotas under the US tariff quotas, so we export to designated markets as well as East Africa. Mozambique has a great deal of export.