Nakambala Tackles The Leftovers
"EVERY year sugar plantations worldwide lose millions of dollars in uncollected cane stalks left lying in the fields."
IMAGES: Good stacking and good cutting have helped reduce the leftover cane.
EVERY year sugar plantations worldwide lose millions of dollars in uncollected cane stalks left lying in the fields. For a factory like Nakambala, crushing more than three million tons of cane annually, the leftover cane translates into a significant amount of uncollected revenue left to spoil in the fields.
For instance, in the 2011/2012 season alone, about 1.79 tons cane per hectare (TCH) was left uncollected in fields, which translates into an estimated 4 million Rands (2.4 billion Zambian Kwacha) loss in revenue.
To correct this, a special task force was created to apply the principles of Continuous Improvement to reduce the leftover cane to 1 TCH or less. The Nakambala LeftOver Cane Project was initiated on 28 March to last till 31 December 2012.
Ten team members were selected from various departments and sections to pioneer the project.
The leftover cane was categorised into long stalks, short stalks, cane stumps, and cane tops, with data showing that whole stalks and short stalks constituted 57% and 33% respectively of the total leftover cane of 1.79 TCH for the 2011/2012 season. Efforts were therefore prioritised to reduce the amount of leftover whole and short stalks.
The overall leftover cane was reduced from 1.79 TCH to 1.24 TCH as of week 24, resulting in a marked and welcome annual saving.