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The Zimbabwe Sugar Association is to host the Annual Conference of the Federation of SADC Sugar Producers on July 23 2014 in Victoria Falls.

This is the first time that Zimbabwe hosts this meeting. The conference will be held back to back with the SADC Technical Committee on Sugar meetings on July 24 and July 25.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Developing the SADC Sugar Industries through empowerment programmes and sustainable private farming.”

The programme for the conference includes regional speakers in the sugar industry. The FSSP was launched in November 2000 and includes sugar associations and other bodies representing the sugar industry in each of the SADC member states.

The objectives of the Federation are to promote the common interests of the sugar industries within SADC in close cooperation with the Technical Committee on Sugar.

It was established in accordance with the Sugar Cooperation Agreement (Annex VII of the SADC Protocol on Trade) and also to provide a forum for discussion and to foster specific programmes of common interest among members.

The FSSP conference is an annual event organised in turn by each of the SADC sugar producing countries and offers an interesting platform for members and other stakeholders to engage proactively through dialogue on important issues for the development and consolidation of the SADC sugar industries thereby increasing their preparedness to meet future challenges.

This year’s conference will be officiated by the Minister of Industry and Commerce Michael Bimha.

In a statement, the Chairman of Zimbabwe Sugar Association, Mr Muchadeyi Masunda said, “currently SADC countries produce approximately 5 million tonnes of sugar per annum.

This is about 3 percent of the world’s total production. SADC Sugar Industries export 2 million tonnes equivalent of 40 percent of total production in SADC.

Many SADC Industries have potential to increase production.”

Mr Masunda said this would be the first time that Zimbabwe hosts this conference and debate would certainly identify solutions to challenges such as the recent threat to SADC industries of dumping of cheap imported sugar onto local markets.

Source : The Herald

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