* Dwangwa Estate CSR activities focused on five key areas: education, potable water, food security, health, and afforestation
* The company aims to contribute to the overall development and well-being of the communities surrounding its operations
* The community members also had the opportunity to express the impact these projects have had
By Duncan Mlanjira
Through various corporate social responsibility (CSR), projects, Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc has so far invested K635.4 million in development projects the company carried out for communities around Dwangwa Estate in Nkhotakota.
This was announced on Thursday by Illovo Dwangwa Estate General Manager, McLean Debwe during the company’s CSR day that included site visits to several projects in the local community aimed at interacting with the members of the beneficiary communities.
During the visit, the community members also had the opportunity to express the impact these projects have had and provided testimonials regarding the company’s collaborative approach to CSR.
Debwe said the event highlighted the company’s commitment to working together with stakeholders to create shared value and build a thriving community.
“Illovo Sugar Malawi (Plc) Dwangwa Estate CSR activities focused on five key areas: education, potable water, food security, health, and afforestation,” he said. “By addressing these areas, the company aims to contribute to the overall development and well-being of the communities surrounding its operations.
“Illovo Dwangwa Estate has successfully implemented several projects while others are under implementation.”
The tour encompassed trips to Nkhunga Hospital, Nkhunga Community Day Secondary School (CDSS), LUANAR maize fields, Majiga Primary School and Majiga CDSS where the projects are as follows:
* Medical supplies donation to Nkhotakota District Health Office cholera response (K10 million);
* Construction of security fence at Nkhunga Health Centre (K46 million)
* Construction of mortuary & provision of a cold room at Nkhunga Health Centre (K40 million)
* Construction of a fence at Nkhunga CDSS (K33 million);
* Construction of a classroom block at Kaongozi Primary School at K53 million (in progress);
* Donation of 1,300 desks to Majiga, Matiki, Ukasi, Central Nyamvuu Primary Schools (K100 million);
* Construction of an administration block, teacher’s house & classroom block at Majiga CDSS at K244 million (in progress);
* Renovation of Matiki Primary School at K55 million (in progress)
* Renovation of a classroom block at Central Primary School (K12 million)
* Drilling of 5 boreholes in Mlala (K20 million);
– Repairing of 8 non-functional boreholes in Mlala, Mowe & Nkhunga Police Station (K10 million)
* Support to community farming — 270 hectares of land provided to Kakuyu Rice Cooperative for a community farming project. Costs to date for training and cooperative registration (K3.8 million;
* Support to food security — 100 hectares of land for cane growing and water for Irrigation provided to the government through LUANAR for maize production.
* Provision of 20,000 tree seedlings to Nkhotakota District Council (K6 million).
Debwe added that through these projects, Illovo Dwangwa Estate is “demonstrating its commitment to sustainable development and social responsibility” and that Illovo Sugar Malawi (Plc) “remains dedicated to collaborating with communities and stakeholders to identify areas of mutual concern and create lasting positive impact”.
“The CSR Day serves as a platform to showcase the progress made and inspire further collaboration towards creation of a thriving Malawian community,” he said.
Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) and Illovo Sugar Africa Proprietary Limited (Illovo), through Sucoma Holdings Limited — that holds 76% of the issued share capital with the balance of the shares being held by the public and other institutional investors.
Illovo Sugar Africa is the continent’s largest sugar producer with extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six African countries — Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.
Illovo Sugar Africa is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF), in the United Kingdom while Illovo Malawi has developed considerable agricultural and milling assets at the Dwangwa Estate and at the Nchalo Estate in Chikwawa.
Both factories produce raw and refined sugar with the Nchalo factory also manufacturing value-added specialty sugars. All Illovo sugar sold into the local direct consumption market is fortified with Vitamin A to help eliminate micronutrient deficiency particularly in children less than five years of age.
Illovo Sugar Malawi spends K1.1 billion for the fortification program benefitting an estimated two million people and it is one of the country’s largest single private-sector employer providing direct employment for 9,000 people permanent, seasonal and casual employees and an additional 5,000 direct and indirect contractors creating a total of 14,000 jobs.
Illovo is also a major contributor to the Malawian tax authorities through direct and indirect taxes. It generates valuable foreign exchange through export sugar sales.
Many local industries are dependent upon Illovo for their viability and the employment created by these businesses provides an income base for many more families than are directly employed.
The company further supports an estimated 5,200 smallholder cane farmers through various smallholder schemes.
Last month, on the sidelines of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit in South Africa, President Lazarus Chakwera asked Illovo Sugar Group to diversify their value chain in Malawi to other crops for the benefit of Malawians and also the company.
He had an engagement with Illovo Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Gavin Dalglish at Da Vinci Hotel in Sandton, and after the meeting, Minister of Finance, Sosten Gwengwe told the media that Chakwera has been engaging the Illovo Group for the past three years to find ways of diversifying.
“The main focus was on Illovo Sugar to diversify value chain to sectors of our economy in addition to sugar,” he had said. “Illovo is about 60 years old [in Malawi], but they have really done only the sugar value chain addition and I think time is now ripe with the Shire Valley Transformation Programme, which focuses on gravity-fed irrigation.
“Illovo can be the main off taker of that water and develop a second value chain whether its cotton or legumes or whichever value chain that can be scaled to the size of sugar and I feel it is a win-win for Malawi and Illovo,” he said.
On his part, Dalglish was quoted as saying they were looking forward to the completion of the Shire Valley Transformation Programme’s irrigation canal, which he described as significant, saying: “I think it will have multi-generational benefits and it’s a wonderful opportunity to create more value chains for Malawi.
“We talked about growth prospects for Illovo Sugar in Malawi — in particular around the Shire River canal project and the potential it has to create more value chains for Malawi and the ongoing investment climate in Malawi,” he had said.