Limbe Operations

The Limbe operation serves as the Head Office of Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc. As the Dwangwa and Nchalo Mills predominantly produce sugar, the Limbe operation serves as the central place to consolidate all manufacturing activities from both mills.

Nchalo operations

Nchalo Sugar Estate is the oldest Sugar Estate in Malawi. The Estate is a product of collaborative Sugar Cane growing research in lower shire by the then Nyasaland Government and Booker Brothers and McConnell and Co. Ltd in 1949. The Alumenda Scheme became the first pilot scheme.


In 1963, Dr McMartin, a renowned sugar cane researcher, was engaged by Lonrho Ltd to do a thorough research of the topography, drainage, climate, natural vegetation, soils, and water supplies in the Nchalo area. He recommended Nchalo as a favourable area for sustained sugar cane production.

SUCOMA was formed in mid-1965 as a Lonrho Subsidiary to operate the Nchalo Estate.

Dwangwa operations

Dwangwa Estate is an operating division of Illovo Sugar Malawi plc which is situated in the mid-central region of Nkhotakota, it annually produces approximately 120,000 tons of sugar. The Estate mainly comprises of cane fields, a sugar factory and refinery as it focuses on cane growing operations and manufacturing downstream products. The estate produces both brown and refined sugar. 


The Supply Chain and Commercial teams based in Limbe are responsible for selling and distribution of sugar produced by the two sites on both the domestic and international markets. The Legal and Corporate affairs team deals with all matters related to the business as a whole. Similarly the Finance, Business Improvement and Human Resources departments also consolidate information from both mills for functional and reporting purposes at Illovo Sugar Africa’s Head Office in South Africa.

In 1997 Illovo acquired Lonrho Sugar Corporation Limited which owned SUCOMA hence the change of name to Illovo Sugar Malawi.

Annually, Nchalo Estate cultivates more than 1 million tonnes of sugarcane and produces more than 150,000 tonnes of sugar. Nchalo Estate produces sugar for the domestic market as well as a wide range of specialty sugar for the export market. The types of sugar produced include; Light Demerara, Dark Demerara, Dry Demerara, Fortified Raw Sugar, Standard Raw Sugar, Turbinado, Fine Grain Raw Sugar and Malawi Golden Raw Sugar. At its peak the Estate employs more than 10,000 permanent and non-permanent employees.


The estate was originally established in the late 1970s under the Lornho Sugar Cooperation. In 1997, Illovo Sugar Limited acquired Lornho Sugar Cooperation, thus bringing forth Dwangwa Sugar Cooperation under Illovo Sugar Malawi Limited.