Mozambique: President Calls for Sugar Production to Resume at Luabo

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Sunday revealed that the government will do what it can to encourage the Sena Company to resume sugar production at Luabo, in Chinde district, on the north bank of the Zambezi River.

Sugar production ceased at Luabo almost 30 years ago, when the apartheid-supported Renamo rebels sabotaged the sugar mill, reducing it to scrap metal.

Luabo was one of two sugar mills and plantations, on opposite banks of the Zambezi, which were once owned by the Sena Sugar Estates, nationalized in 1979. They were both privatised in favour of the Sena Company at the end of the war with Renamo, but sugar production only resumed at Marromeu, on the south bank of the river.

Speaking to the press in the city of Quelimane, the provincial capital of the central province of Zambezia, President Nyusi said that “the owners are going to be contacted and encouraged, at first, to resume production. Something will be done”.

The President visited Luabo on Friday where he heard complaints from residents about the abandoned sugar plantation. Others suggested ideas about how to reactivate agro-industrial production in the district.

Local resident Arlindo Mukwesso told the President “we want investment here, just like has happened in Marromeu where the same company has invested”.

According to Mukwesso, in Luabo the company has abandoned about twelve thousand hectares of fertile land and various pieces of equipment.

He explained that the Sena Company had employed about ten thousand workers in Luabo, but today the district faces a serious crisis due to a lack of jobs. He added, “the factory was destroyed during the war waged by Renamo” (the conflict lasted for 16 years and only ended with the signing of the 1992 General Peace Agreement).

Mukwesso complained, “the land cannot be left unused to the detriment of the population. Everything is paralysed because nobody disturbs this vast and rich land’. He argued that new investors should be found to produce food and commercial crops such as rice.

At the press conference, President Nyusi told journalists that the local population clearly understood that the sugar factory at Luabo had been destroyed during the war. He added that people had called for new investors if the current owners are unwilling to invest.

A journalist asked the President about what conclusions can be drawn from the current demand by Renamo for provincial autonomy, pursued through the use of guns. However, the President made clear that he did not want to carry out dialogue with Renamo through the press. He explained that these issues are being discussed in a Joint Commission set up by both sides along with the support of mediators.

Despite being the largest opposition party, Renamo still has an armed wing that is destabilising some parts of the centre of the country. The need to enter into dialogue with Renamo to create a lasting peace was the dominant issue raised by people during the President’s four-day working visit to Zambezia.

Sunday was the last day of his tour. During his time in Zambezia, the President also visited the districts of Mopeia, Luabo, Chinde, Derre, Inhassunge and the city of Quelimane.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique