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First burn of the season

An immense sense of relief suddenly drifted between the crowds of bystanders as the first cane fields were lit up on Saturday 17th April 2016. All around, from farmers, cane cutters, fire fighters to all the managers who came to witness the first burn of the season – a real buzz of excitement could be felt.

The first field which was allocated for the first burn had not been ploughed out in 37 years and has been one of the top yielding fields on the estate. This field had not been touched by a plough machine to rework the soil in order to expose and loosen up more fertile soil. On average, a field in Dwangwa is ploughed out every 5 years. Each year, in the past, this field was set to be ploughed out, however, each time the field produced a high yielding crop.

Unitrans Dwangwa is located along the northern lake shores of the enormous Lake Malawi and about 350 kms from the nearest city of Lilongwe. The Illovo Dwangwa Estate boasts a healthy 106 tons of sugar cane per hectare on a ± 7000 hectare estate. On the estate, Unitrans Dwangwa provides seven different support service contracts to Illovo Malawi. The main contracts which exist are the cane haulage from the fields to the mill, land preparation of fields, and cleaning of canals and drains.

Our cane haulage season (which usually runs from April until mid December) started with the first load brought to the mill from the fields. It is certainly an excellent way to identify the weak from the strong as it is a 24/7 operation with temperatures averaging in the mid 30 degrees celsius. However, we have proven year on year for the past 30 years that efficiency, quality and endurance is the name of the game.

Quality land preparation of the fields is an equally important part of our operation which directly relates to the good yields which the estate benefits from.

Our team started off the season on a very positive note, with all 465 employees being issued with new PPE. It looked like fireflies lit up at night, as the wave of highly visible illuminated colours swept through the fields.

Unitrans Dwangwa will continue to work closely with the client and stay ahead of competitors by staying innovative in our industry. We are extremely keen to prove, once again, that Unitrans Africa is the leading Supply Chain Solution Company and that we are only at the start of our foot print into Africa.

~ Danie Bester, Depot Manager Dwangwa, Malawi