Mrs. Katowa said water challenges in the sugar industry were real and with the increased load shedding in the country, a reduction in crop yields was expected.
“We depend on power to irrigate the crop and if we are not able to put water on the crop then it impacts directly on the yield and we will have some yields coming off as a result of not having enough water on the crop,” she said.
Mrs. Katowa said this in an interview with Journalists in Livingstone today, ahead of the opening of the 15th Federation of SADC Sugar Producers (FSSP) to be held under the theme, “Positioning SADC Sugar Industries towards sustainability”.
Zambia Sugar Plc is a member of FSSP and also represents Kasama Sugar and Consolidated Farming Limited which produces Kafue Sugar.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Katowa said volatility of the currencies such as the dollar and euro had impacted negatively on the sugar industry.
“Currencies are fluctuating within the whole of SADC; the euro, dollar exchange rate does impact negatively on the industry,” she said.
She also cited global surpluses of sugar as a major challenge for sugar producers in the SADC region.
Mrs. Katowa said despite having access to the European market, prices of the commodity had collapsed due to sugar reforms within the European Union.
“We do have access to the European market. We have quota free, tariff free access into Europe however, with the sugar reforms that have taken place in the EU, prices have collapsed and the prices we can get out there are no longer remunerative, or sustainable in terms of cost of production,” she said.
She said this development affected all sugar producers in the SADC region and the conference would provide a roadmap on how the challenges would be tackled in a wholesome manner.