Zambia Sugar counterfeits emerge

Lusaka Securities Exchange – LuSE listed and Illovo’s local unit, Zambia Sugar are battling to extinguish counterfeit packages and products that have re-emerged in Lusaka. This was made public after the Zambia Police Service Intellectual Property Unit on 4 June, 2018 conducted an operation in Lusaka’s Zani-Muone west and city market after receiving a complaint from Mazabuka based largest Sugar company in Zambia.

Zambia Sugar Plc, the legitimate brand owner of White spoon sugar label are poised to face more competition even locally with more sugar companies being set up and other expanding their production capacity within Zambia. The key competitors include Kafue Sugar, Kasama Sugar and a new Greenfield Mwansa Sugar.

Across the boarders, there seems to have emerged cheaper sources of unlabeled sugar that are now being imported illegally as they are not fortified with vitamin A, as per Zambian government local and import requirement.

In a statement issued to the Zambia Business Times – ZBT, Zambia Police Spokeswoman Esther Katongo said that during the operation, officers raided a house in Zanimuone West and a number of Wholesales shops at City market where they found 1kg, 2kg empty packs/bags and 378 x 50Kg empty sacks suspected to have been counterfeits of “white spoon sugar”, a brand label belonging to Zambia Sugar Plc.

The suspects were found using these counterfeited sacks to package raw unlabelled sugar and Hullet sun sweet sugar which is believed to have been imported from other countries and was being repacked in Zambia sugar packages.

She said that Officers also seized some weighing scales, ink pads, a date stamp, stitching machines and cotton, a sealing machine, 164x50kgs refined sugar and also some sugar was found spread on a tent in one of the rooms, 85 cases containing 20 packets of 20kg sugar, 31 cases by 20 packets of 1 Kilogram sugar and 37 cases by 10 packets of 2 Kilogram sugar all suspected to be counterfeit sugar packages.

The police spokesperson stated that the total value of seized items were valued at K126, 894 and it is suspected that the raw sugar is smuggled into the Country from other Countries and was being repacked in Zambia Sugar Plc labeled packages. She added that Nine suspects comprising Burundese, Congolese and Zambian nationals were picked up and will be charges accordingly after further investigations.

Zambia Sugar last month reported depressed half year earnings which plummeted 80% attributing its poor performance on bad weather, advent of pests and diseases at its large Mazabuka Agro estate. The company also reported the flooding of global markets with excess sugar as some of the reasons behind their slide in earnings performance.