Companhia do Sena plants stevia in Mozambique to increase sugar production

25 August 2016

Companhia do Sena, a sugar company based in Marromeu district, in the Mozambican central province of Sofala, will start planting stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) to complement sugarcane, the company’s managers said.

The officials told the President of Mozambique, who was visiting the district as part of a four-day trip to Sofala province starting on Monday, planting stevia is intended to diversify the crops that supply the factory.

Stevia is a plant from South America whose leaf is 10 to 20 times sweeter than cane sugar and “steviol” extract (a white powder, made from the essence of its leaves) is up to 300 times sweeter.

The sweetener extracted from the plant can be consumed by diabetics, is calorie-free, does not change blood sugar levels, is non-toxic and inhibits dental plaque and caries.

Kenya is the largest producer of this plant in Africa, and the leaves are sent to China, the only country with manufacturers specialised in extracting the sweet molecules, according to Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias.

The managers of Companhia do Sena also reported that the company already has six hectares reserved for stevia planting, and the area is likely to be expanded to 50 hectares to provide four annual harvests. (macauhub/CN/MZ)