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Hippo Valley Estates : Trading Update – Marketscreener.com

Hippo Valley Estates Limited

TRADING UPDATE FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2022

AND THE FIRST QUARTER ENDED 30 JUNE 2022

Operating Environment

Annual ination accelerated from 72.7% in March 2022 to 191.6% in June 2022 as the economic environment remains volatile and hyperinationary. Despite the merging of auction rate with Willing Buyer Willing Seller (WBWS) as the country ocial rate, the Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWL) suered a 157% depreciation during the quarter ended 30 June 2022. The heightened volatility of the exchange rate has made the operating environment more challenging. The Company continues, however to pursue value preservation strategies in the hyperinationary environment. Unemployment remains high, with the bulk of the population managing on the back of informal businesses and agricultural projects. While eorts continue to be made to liberalise the currency regime, to ease liquidity challenges and address ination, economic conditions remain challenging.

Covid-19 Update

Over the past 3 months, cases from the Omicron-driven 4th wave have continued to decline globally. This trend has been mirrored within the Company’s operations. Mid-way through 2021, the company, in a Public-Private Partnership, embraced vaccination as key in management of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program has been extremely successful and as at 15th May 2022, over 99% of the workforce had been vaccinated. This is ahead of the rest of Zimbabwe generally, where less than 50% of the population is vaccinated. The easing of lockdown restrictions and increased business hours in response to decline in COVID-19 cases is expected to continue aiding economic recovery eorts.

In order to further contribute to socio-economic transformation and to facilitate inclusion of more local farmers in the sugar value chain, the Company together with Triangle Ltd, is actively assisting new farmers who have been allocated virgin land with clear water rights and in areas close to the mills, with technical and commercial feasibility studies, mobilization of funding and where required actual development of the land to sugarcane on a full cost recovery basis. Good progress has been made with respect to the development of 1 168ha of Pezulu Project with one local bank having availed US$5,2m (about 50% of the total development cost) with other banks indicating a willingness to fund the balance.

Following recommendations from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, a Tribunal constituting of three arbitrators was set up to determine commercial issues relating to the sugar milling agreement for the 2022/23 milling season. The arbitration is at an advanced stage, with anticipation of concluding the process within the current milling season.

The inputs and extension support to private farmers is ongoing. The Company continues to implement various vertical and horizontal sugarcane growth programs. A partnership framework whereby Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe is co-managing certain underperforming out-grower farms is progressing satisfactorily. To date, 61 farmers have volunteered to partner with the Company in the co-management arrangement. Under the co-management framework some 593ha have been ploughed out and replanted to new roots.

Operations

Cane and sugar production (tons)

1st Quarter

1st Quarter

%

Full Year to

Full Year to

%

June 2022

June 2021

Change

31 Mar. 22

31 Mar. 21

Change

Tons cane harvested – Company

347,178

283,499

+22%

283,499

1 043 774

-14%

Tons cane harvested – Private farmers

235,264

270,024

-13%

270,024

592 722

+30%

Other third-party cane

1,310

-100%

1,310

55 439

-53%

Total tons cane milled – Company

582,442

554,833

+5%

554,833

1 691 935

+0%

Tons sugar produced – Company

64,203

66,664

-4%

66,664

204 384

+3%

Tons sugar produced –

119,430

128,044

-7%

128,044

408,260

-4%

Industry Total

Production for the year ended 31 March 2022

Cane deliveries from the Company’s plantations (miller-cum-planter) decreased by 14% from prior year. This was mainly due to lower yields that emanated from a combination of yellow sugarcane aphid infestations and water logging of soils induced by incessant rains received between December 2020 and March 2021 that adversely impacted crop development. In addition to this, early start-up of the milling season in April 2021 resulted in crushing of younger cane occasioned by a strategic decision to reposition the milling season so as to maximise growing and milling eciencies in future seasons. Private farmer deliveries improved by 30% due to an increase in area harvested largely attributable to new developed area under the Kilimanjaro project and ‘carry-over’ cane from the previous season. Overall, total cane milled was in line with prior year, as the drop in miller-cum-planter was oset by private-farmer deliveries. Sugar produced by the Company increased by 3% due to better cane quality and favourable mill eciencies. The requisite o-crop maintenance work was satisfactorily carried out from December until start-up of crushing season in May 2022 thereby positioning the mill for improved performance in the 2022/23 production year.

Production for the quarter ended 30 June 2022

Cane deliveries from the Company’s plantations (miller-cum-planter) for the quarter ended 30 June 2022, were 22% above same period prior year driven by a combination of increased harvesting targets in line with total crop projections, a more ecient cane haulage system and improved mill uptime. However, cane deliveries from private farmers were below prior year on account of rains received in April 2022 which resulted in the delayed onset of harvesting. Whilst cane deliveries were higher than prior year on account of improved yields for cane harvested, sugar production to date is 4% lower than same period in prior year largely as a consequence of lower cane quality due to a prolonged wet spell that prevailed in the region. Cane quality is however expected to improve into the drier peak sucrose period.

Marketing Performance

Marketing performance for the year ended 31 March 2022

The Zimbabwe sugar industry has a single marketing desk at brown sugar level, administered by Zimbabwe Sugar Sales (Private) Limited (ZSS). The Company’s share of total industry sugar sales volume of 394 000 tons (2021: 440 000 tons) for the year ended 31 March 2022 was 53.2% (2021: 50.0%). Total industry sugar sales into the domestic market for the year at 356 000 tons (2021: 325 000 tons) were 10% higher than prior year, driven by strong domestic demand. Industry export sales however, decreased by 67% to 38 000 tons (2021: 115 000 tons) following redirection of supply to the local market in view of the increased demand. Price realisations on the local market also remained rm in current purchasing power terms. While local market USD sales were rm at the beginning of the year, these subsequently slowed down owing to limited availability of foreign currency within the economy.

Marketing performance for the quarter ended 30 June 2022

The Company’s share of total industry sugar sales volume of 94 257 tons (2021: 98 718 tons) for

the quarter under review was 54.5% (2021: 52.1%). Total industry sugar sales into the domestic

market for the quarter at 84 228 tons (2021: 91 645 tons) decreased by 8% compared to same period prior year largely due to reduced production as well as purchasing power constraints experienced by customers. The price realisations in both local and foreign currency on the local market suered negatively from the adverse exchange rate dynamics on currency. Management continues to align local prices to changes in cost structures where possible.

Projects and initiatives

Hippo Valley Estates Limited, in partnership with sister company Triangle Ltd, Government and banks continue to progress the cane expansion project, Project Kilimanjaro. Government has since allocated 700ha of the developed sections of the 4 000ha Kilimanjaro Project to 41 new beneciaries as part of the economic empowerment and social transformation process. Harvesting of the 562 ha fully planted is in progress with some very good yields being realized, whilst the balance of 138ha is currently being planted to complete the Empowerment Block. Development on the remaining 3 300ha (of which 1931ha are fully bush cleared, land preparations and other infrastructure substantially progressed) remain on hold pending resolution of tenure issues relating to this block, which are being progressed with Government, further to which appropriate funding mechanisms will be put in place.

Land tenure

Further to the previous update on progress with regard to land tenure, the Company advises that as at 30 June 2022, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (Ministry) had initiated the process for the issuance of 99-year leases with 3 lease blocks (out of a total of 8 lease blocks) issued in respect of Hippo Valley North. In consultation with the Ministry, the Company has requested certain changes to be eected on the lease documents, a process now being undertaken by Government Attorneys. The Minister has assured the Company that the balance of leases will be signed once the review of the 99-year lease document has been completed. The Company is appreciative of the continued support it is getting from Government on this matter.

Delay in publication of Annual Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2022

Following the extension in the publication of its Audited Financial Statements granted by the ZSE on the 27th of June 2022, the Company intended to resolve certain technical matters with its Auditors by 29th July 2022. However, the consultation processes, which are still ongoing, have taken longer than envisaged and hence, the Company advises that it is no longer able to publish its Abridged Audited Financial Statements for the Financial year ended 31 March 2022, within the revised timeline.

The two pending technical matters relate to Biological Assets International Accounting Standards

  1. fair valuation of standing cane and Inventories International Accounting Standards 2: valuation of sugar stocks. The outcome following nalisation with the auditors might materially aect both the Company’s current and prior year nancial statements, primarily the inventory and biological asset balances. The changes are however not envisaged to aect its cash ow position.

The Company will therefore publish its Abridged Audited Financial Statements by the 31st of August 2022 and regrets any inconvenience this may cause to our valued stakeholders.

Outlook

With Tugwi-Mukosi and Mtirikwi Dams close to full capacity, the industry is set to accelerate opportunities for horizontal expansion with new sugarcane projects, feeding o this robust water system, mainly for the benet of new farmers who are keen to supply the cane to the mills. Water supply to the Mkwasine Out-Growers is however currently constrained on account of challenges on the Siya-Manjirenji system, however there is ongoing work to attend to the issue. The industry is also working closely with the National Water Authority to enhance the industry water conveyancing infrastructure, to cope with the increasing farming and irrigation activities in the Lowveld. Signicant improvements in yields on existing farms are expected in coming years at the back of continued technical support being extended to the farmers by the Company and the Zimbabwe Sugarcane Experiment and Research Station (ZSAES) in replant programmes, introduction of new varieties, focus on best farming practices and mechanization. The resultant increase in cane supply to the mills should improve operating eciencies and cost competitiveness. The current crop is projected to yield more than the prior season following improved irrigation regimes, repairs to pumping installations and proactive initiatives to contain the yellow sugar cane aphid discovered in the region.

Although local demand for sugar remains strong as industry recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, the sugar industry is engaging authorities to ensure an even competitive playing eld against cheap imports of sugar originating from surplus producers who enjoy duty protection in their host countries. This is also in an attempt to safeguard the health of the local population as some of the sugar imported is not Vitamin A fortied, as required by law. The substantial o-crop maintenance programme has been successfully completed and the mills have started the new season well with focus being on increasing production and capitalising on eciencies.

Operating and trading conditions are likely to remain challenging in the current milling season, with farmers and millers contending with high cost pressures on account of both local and global inationary dynamics, exchange rate volatilities, high cost of funding and supply chain bottlenecks, resulting in pricing of local products dicult in the short to medium terms. Procurement strategies for key raw materials have been enhanced and the Company anticipates being able to secure the critical inputs required for operations. It is also pleasing to note that the authorities are open to engagements with the industry on the key issues of duty-free imports of sugar and appropriate pricing models to ensure that the industry remains viable whilst protecting consumers.

By Order of the Board

C F Dube

A Mhere

Chairman

Chief Executive Ocer

03 August 2022

DDH&M_HPV 16106

C F Dube (Independent Non-executive Chairman), A Mhere* (Chief Executive Ocer), R D Aitken, R M Goetzsche, J G Hudson, N Kudenga, T Masarakufa*, R T Masawi, R J Moyo, N J J Mutsai, D K Shinya, G Sweto. * Executive

www.tongaat.com/hippo-valley-estates

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Hippo Valley Estates Ltd. published this content on 04 August 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 04 August 2022 07:46:05 UTC.

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Contracted tobacco farmers urged to avoid double dipping – Bulawayo24 News

Senior Agronimist in Mashonaland Central province Lazarus Gatawa has urgerd contracted tobacco farmers  to only stick to one contract company if they are to sustain their farming business and realise full production potential. 

Double dipping is when a farmer collects farming inputs from multiple or more than one contracting company but for the same crop hectrage to be grown in a single farming season.

“Double dipping works against the objectivity of tobacco contract farming model and is toxic to the entire agriculture contracting value chain in Zimbabwe and to foreign investors,” Gatawa said 

“Some merchants will fail to fully recover their debt and product volumes from double dippers because a contracted farmer can only sell their tobacco to one company contract floor according to TIMB policies.”

Gatawa also added that  double dipping also fuels sidemarketing as those farmers will attempt to bypass and evade their obligations with the multiple contracting companies who  supported them with inputs.

“Double dipping will negatively affect the farmer by reducing their creditworthiness as they will not be able to access inputs credit from tobacco merchants in the coming seasons. Farmers with a history of double dipping  will be easily picked up by a mobile  application technology developed by Expert Decision Systems (XDS) through Agro Axess and tobacco companies will use this to deny inputs credit lines to such black listed farmers.”

Tobacco farmers are currently entering into contract agreements with companies of their choice during this period of tobacco production cycle and are being encouraged to choose and stick to one company. 

Contract farming is a key driver of quality tobacco production in the country and farmers are being motivated to embrace the model by entering into contract agreements with only one merchant. A flourishing tobacco contract farming framework is good for the country and top on the beneficiary profile are the farmers and the contracting companies.

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agriculture

With Catholic backing, African communities press against land grabs by global ag firms – National Catholic Reporter

A delegation of communities from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, accompanied by local and Belgian nongovernmental organizations, protested outside the headquarters of SIAT Group in Brussels. (CIDSE/Arnaud Ghys)

A delegation of communities from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, accompanied by local and Belgian nongovernmental organizations, protested outside the headquarters of SIAT Group in Brussels. The oil palm company has been accused of land grabbing in Africa and violating the rights of local farmers and communities. (CIDSE/Arnaud Ghys)

Harare, Zimbabwe — For all his adult life, Joseph Amoh Ayisi cultivated cassava, cocoa and plantains in the Subensu area of Kwahu district in Ghana’s Eastern Region. 

The crops he grew are crucial for his survival and that of his community. Cassava is a major staple in West Africa; cocoa is a cash crop used in the manufacture of chocolate, while plantains, another cash crop, are in the same family of fruit as bananas.

Life was bearable for him, his family and others within his community, thanks to these farming activities that earned them an income. They complemented this with rearing of livestock, such as pigs, poultry and goats, all of which roamed around their land holdings.

In difficult times, the livestock would easily be sold for cash.

But Ayisi’s life and fortunes have taken a sharp turn for the worse in the past few months when he lost his land holdings to commercial agro-processing companies that are turning African communal lands into commercial crop production fields.

The companies grow palms for processing into edible oils or grow cocoa. In some cases, as in Zimbabwe, an agro-processing company, Dendairy, intends to grow fodder for dairy cattle ranching, with the milk processed into dairy products. These companies require large tracts of land for their operations and have been turning African communal lands into commercial crop production fields. Very often, this is drawing them into conflict with communities.

These companies are picking up leases and concessions under controversial land deals with African governments desperate for investment to spur development.

Two workers are pictured near sacks of cocoa beans standing next to a warehouse in 2020 in Atroni, Ghana. (CNS/Reuters/Ange Aboa)

Two workers are pictured near sacks of cocoa beans standing next to a warehouse in 2020 in Atroni, Ghana. (CNS/Reuters/Ange Aboa)

“We cultivated mostly oil palm, cocoa, cassava, plantain and also reared livestock such as pigs, goats and chickens for commercial purposes and our own consumption,” Ayisi said in an interview with EarthBeat. “But now with the presence of Ghana Oil Palm Development Company [GOPDC] we have lost all that and now we are residents of different communities around us.”

The SIAT Group, parent company to GOPDC, has agro-processing operations across western Africa. It is among large agro-processing companies that have been heavily criticized for displacing African communities in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria for little to no compensation.

They are also accused of not properly consulting communities when setting up operations that include vast oil palm fields. The SIAT Group did not respond to emailed questions before publication.

Ayisi, who has now separated with his spouse “due to the hardships we are facing,” is not alone in this.

His misfortunes and plight are shared by many communal farmers and Indigenous groups across Africa, a continent where agriculture is a key economic mainstay for both economies and households.

In October, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar said that private sector land deals concluded for 2021 alone covered more than 62 million acres.

The African Catholic bishops criticized “the impunity of corporate and elite capture of African land and natural resources,” saying this new rush for African land was damaging “to Africa’s food systems, to our environment, our soils, lands and water, our biodiversity” and health.

“Land grabs push people off the land, fueling conflicts and provoking displacement,” the bishops added.

Just this June, a delegation of African communities that lost their land to SIAT Group demonstrated and handed over a petition to executives at the company’s Belgian headquarters.

According to its website, the company specializes in the “establishment and management of oil palm and rubber plantations and allied processing,” mostly in Africa.

The African delegation represented communities from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria. Other communities impacted and displaced by other large agro-processing groups have similar and even bigger problems.

During their demonstration at the Belgian company’s headquarters, the delegation from western Africa sought to “denounce land grabbing” and its “negative impact” on local communities.

Rita Uwaka, forest and biodiversity program coordinator at Friends of the Earth Africa, was among the delegates that protested at SIAT Group’s Brussels office.

She told EarthBeat that in Nigeria alone local farming communities with over 20,000 people had been negatively impacted by relocations and displacements of African farmers from their land by big agro-companies.

“The Nigerian government is prioritizing private investment without taking into consideration the interests of communities impacted by the agro-processing companies when they displace farmers. These people depend on this land for their daily sustenance and these companies such as SIAT are disturbing the livelihoods of the communities,” she said.

A young person carries sugar cane on a farm in mid-November 2016 near Zaria, Nigeria. (CNS/Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

A young person carries sugar cane on a farm in mid-November 2016 near Zaria, Nigeria. (CNS/Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

CIDSE, the network of mainly European-based Catholic development organizations, has studied the trend of large-scale land acquisitions in Africa, finding that since 2000 upwards of 25 million hectares, or nearly 62 million acres, of land have been carried out across the continent. Catholic agencies are assisting with a study to determine the impact in Nigeria of the land takeovers and subsequent development of farmers by big agro-processing companies.

Uwaka said her organization is carrying out the research, which she said is supported by the U.K. bishops’ aid agency CAFOD, and is also working with Caritas Nigeria to share information “about what is happening on the ground in these communities in terms of the impact and what can be done.”

CIDSE and Caritas have previously supported a similar study into the impact of land-takeover by agro-processing companies in neighboring Ivory Coast, where it was found that the state that allocated land to a unit of SIAT “effectively denied customary land holders the right granted to them through the Ivorian law, which today suffers the multiple consequences” of land disputes.

Communities like Famienkro, Koffessou-Groumania and Timbo, all areas of Iffou in eastern Ivory Coast which are mostly made up of families practicing small-scale agriculture, say they have faced massive, negative consequences.

They charge that “the company did not consult with them nor collect their informed consent prior to the installation” of an agro-processing project in the area, according to the report.

In the Ivory Coast, 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) are at the center of a dispute between small-scale farming villages and a subsidiary of the Belgian-based agro-company SIAT Group. (CIDSE/Christophe Smets La Boîte)

In the Ivory Coast, 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) are at the center of a dispute between small-scale farming villages and a subsidiary of the Belgian-based agro-company SIAT Group. A June report by CISDE, a network of Catholic social justice organizations primarily in Europe, stated that the villagers have been stripped of their land, displaced from their homes and several people killed during protests against a rubber plantation. (CIDSE/Christophe Smets La Boîte)

Data from other researchers, such as the international small farmers non-profit GRAIN, have shown that more than 65 large-scale land deals for oil palm plantations in Africa were signed between 2000 and 2015, covering upwards of 4.7 million hectares (or 11.6 million acres).

The downside to this is that “multinational companies, in collaboration with local elites and development banks, had launched a full-scale attack against communities from Sierra Leone in West Africa to the DR Congo in Central Africa to take their lands for oil palm plantations,” a 2019 GRAIN report detailed.

In Zimbabwe, which displaced roughly 3,500 white commercial farmers in the early 2000s, about 12,000 Indigenous villagers from Chilonga in the country’s lowveld region are resisting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government’s allocation of their land to Dendairy, a dairy processing company. The company intends to grow Lucerne grass to feed its dairy cows on the land, although the case, ruled against the communal villagers in lower courts, has now spilled into the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe.

As the court case has held the limelight, Livistone Chikutu, one of the affected villagers, said at a press conference in Harare this year: “It’s a lot of lies saying they did door-to-door consultation, yet we are the settlers and we did not see such a thing. There is no promise on the compensation, they just want to grab our land and run away.”

“We can’t let our land be taken in that way, we have seen it before and there was no compensation,” he said.

There is growing evidence of the wider impact of the displacement of African farming communities from their land to pave way for agro-processing companies.

A December 2021 study on the different aspects of rural income sources and assets from 255 displaced farmers and 266 non-displaced farmers in Adamitulu and Dugda districts of Ethiopia indicated “a significant reduction of income and assets among the displaced” farming households.

The study further found that the mean annual income of households displaced by large-scale agro-processing firms declined by 72%, or the equivalent of about $1,800 compared to incomes of non-displaced households.

Those displaced, such as Ayisi from Ghana, are often not consulted when governments decide to parcel away their land holdings to agro-processing companies for commercial farming activities.

In the few cases where communities are supposed to receive compensation for losing their land and for resettlement, the reparations are often below the value deriving from their land tenure activities.

“A small number of us were paid compensation for the destruction of property on the land but not for the land itself,” Ayisi said. “The compensation was not paid under any terms so [for] every one acre of land, 8,000 Ghana cedis [about $981] was paid, which is nothing compared to the value of the crops and the land we lost.”

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WATCH: LSU scores national first with plastic waste to fertiliser innovation – Chronicle

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
LUPANE State University (LSU) students have come up with an innovative way to turn plastic bottles into a top dressing fertiliser product called “Petilizer”, which they say could contribute towards sustainable agriculture across the country.

The innovative project is part of efforts by students to provide a solution for plastic waste management and enhancing agricultural business in Matabeleland, and more particularly Lupane District.

Lupane State University

Through the innovative breakthrough, the LSU students are also tackling the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as ‘No to Poverty’, ‘Zero Hunger’, ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, ‘Climate Action’ and ‘Life on Land’.

According to the students, the process can turn 100kgs of PET plastic bottles into 330kgs of fertiliser, through smelting, adding worms and compost.

The students participated in the National Competition of ENACTUS Zimbabwe last week where they showcased the project and scooped the first prize, which came with a Z$400 000 package.

The LSU team at work on the waste plastic to fertiliser project

Boost Fellowship runs the competition under their ENACTUS programme, a platform for teams of college/university students to take entrepreneurial action for others while using business principles and innovation to further global development goals and creating a sustainable positive impact on people, planet and prosperity.

LSU took first place, Midlands State University second, University of Zimbabwe third and NUST fourth in the finals.

Mr Bukhosi Dumoluhle Mpofu, who is LSU faculty advisor, business clinic development manager and lecturer in the Human Capital Development Department also won the Faculty Advisor of the Year award at the same competition.

For their efforts, the LSU team will represent Zimbabwe in the World Cup in Puerto Rico from October 30 to November 3.

Mr Bukhosi Dumoluhle Mpofu

The vice president of the ENACTUS Zimbabwe Lupane, Ms Ayanda Jele said plastic waste has contributed to multiple deaths of cattle in Zimbabwe.

“Plastic waste on plants like sorghum and sudangrass adds a deadly component, cyanide, which builds up in plants that are used for cattle grazing and eventually causes prussic acid poisoning,” she said.

“Lupane District in Matabeleland, not only has been facing this problem but a global pandemic (Covid-19), and water shortages, which have left communities on their knees.”

Ms Jele said through these problems, they saw an opportunity to safeguard the region. After collecting the PET bottles, she said they began the processing stage, which involves, smelting, worms and compost.

“The plastic bottles are first smelted to change the structure and thereafter we weave them and make thin strips. We then added manure, which is rotten foodstuffs collected, mainly from the Lupane State University dining hall,” said Ms Jele.

LSU team holding their awards

“Then we add the Galleria Melonella worms. This worm is our cutting-edge discovery as it eats the plastic and eventually dies and leaves behind solid and liquid biomass, which can be used as a fertiliser or biogas. This can be further broken down into methane and carbon dioxide.”

Ms Jele said the whole process takes about two weeks from the time that they smelt the plastic bottles to the time that the fertiliser is ready.

She said they came up with the innovation due to the somewhat barren soils of the region that LSU is situated in and to fulfil SDG 2, of Zero Hunger.

Ms Ayanda Jele

“We come from a semi-arid region where rainfall is intermittent. We want to allow the crops to survive. Plastic waste has caused problems when it comes to cattle breeding as they die after eating plastics and plastics contaminate plants. And through the Petilizer we want to boost yields,” said Ms Jele.

SDG 2 seeks to ensure that by 2030 there is sustainable food production and implementation of resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, help maintain ecosystems, strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and progressively improve land and soil quality.

LSU team member

Ms Jele said they engaged the community to build a smelter where they dug a hole and smelt the plastic bottles.

“We dug a hole in the ground, made a bonfire, put buckets of water to harvest the smoke and we burnt the plastic on the bonfire. It’s a model that can be adopted even in our absence. When we go commercial, we are going to have a smelter,” said Ms Jele.

In a separate interview, Mr Mpofu said their samples are cheaper than the going price of fertiliser in the market.

“Our top dressing is about US$3 cheaper per 10kgs. Ours has 16 percent more nitrogen than normal top dressing and it is environmentally friendly as we aren’t using any chemicals in it. The packaging we intend to use is easily recyclable and biodegradable,” he said.

“So, with 100kgs of PET Bottles, we can produce 330kgs of fertiliser. The production price is US$4,50 and we have a 30 percent markup that takes it to US$5,85 per 10kg. Normally top dressing is US$35 to US$45 per 50kg bag and we are cheaper.”

Mr Mpofu said they were selling samples and are awaiting approval to go commercial.

“For now, what has happened is that we are still to register with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and we are awaiting our MoUs with EMA and Agritex,” he said.

“The aim at the end of the day is to create employment and reduce hunger according to the different SDGs. As long as the community is involved and is benefitting when we go commercial, we aim to be able to employ the community.”

Mr Mpofu said when they go commercial the innovation will be handed to the community to run it.

He was in charge of bringing into fruition the innovation, which is the culmination of a collaboration between students studying various degrees such as marketing, accounting animal breeding and biotech, developmental studies, entrepreneurship and procurement and supply.

LSU team member

The students in marketing management are Letwina Amanda Hove, Bunake Ncube, Farai Mapuvire, Ashel Mangoro, Tawana Dube, Lindelwe Jojo Maphosa, Prince Sibanda, Herbert Dzwairo, Ashton Machokoto and Tendai Murombo.

Others are Ayanda Jele studying entrepreneurship, Bhekumuzi Nyathi – accounting and finance, Jessica Pullen – Masters in Animal Breeding and Biotech, Praise Lord Paradza – procurement and supply, Ornate Sisasenkosi Sibanda – economics and Nkosilamandla Kunene who is doing development studies.

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