Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc has agreed to meet sugarcane growers this month to iron out their differences over the division of proceeds from the sale of sugarcane.
In a letter addressed to Henry Chimunthu Banda, Nkhotakota North legislator, who is leading the sugarcane growers, Illovo Malawi managing director Lekani Katandula said only dialogue can resolve the issues.
He said: “In spite of the various engagements we have had on these issues, we are willing to meet with you at a time convenient to both parties to engage further on the issues raised in your report with a view to finding an amicable solution that will suit both parties and ensure the sustainability of both businesses.
“This confirms our willingness to engage and our position has not changed.”
Katandula said currently, the Ministry of Industry has also taken interest in the issues and informed Illovo that they will host a meeting of all sugarcane stakeholders to discuss the growers’ issues.
He said Illovo Malawi expects the ministry to call for such a meeting at least by July 17, but said if it fails, Illovo proposes that the meeting takes place in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota on July 23.
There are a number of issues in contention between Malawi Stock Exchange-listed Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc and sugarcane growers.
The contentious issue is the 16 percent cut in the price payable to farmers per tonne from K302 290 in the 2018/2019 season to K253 290 per tonne in the 2019/2020 season.
On June 26, Chimunthu Banda wrote Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc asking the sugar manufacturer for a meeting with sugarcane growers after the company failed to turn up for a similar meeting with growers in Lilongwe three weeks ago.