Tanzania has been experiencing sugar shortages for a number of decades, but the country is now optimistic that it would turn its tide to become a net exporter of the product in the next four years, the sub-sector regulator has said.

The Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) has outlined nine projects whose implementation will see the country tripling its annual sugar production from the current estimate of 300,000 metric tonnes to 910,000 metric tonnes come 2016.

The projects, which are in various stages of implementation, include Rufiji (Coast Region), Kasulu (Kigoma Region), Ikongo (Mara Region), Luiche/Malagarasi (Kigoma Region), Pangani (Tanga Region), Mahurunga (Mtwara Region) and Kilosa in Morogoro Region.

“We are hopeful that most of these projects should come to fruition come 2016. With the total amount of sugar we are producing, we’ll be able to export some to our neighbours in East Africa,” the SBT project manager, Mr Abdul Mwankemwa, told BusinessWeek recently.

Currently, the country has four major sugar factories with an annual sugar production of at least 300,000 metric tonnes against the demand of 500,000 metric tonnes.

The plants include Kilombero Sugar Company Ltd, Mtibwa Sugar Estates, TPC Ltd and Kagera Sugar Ltd. According to Mr Mwankemwa, the Rufiji and Bagamoyo projects have already found investors while the rest are in various stages of implementation. The two factories will have the capacity of producing a total of 250,000 metric tonnes.

In the same vein, he noted that if the existing factories start producing to their maximum capacity, they would make available some 420,000 metric tonnes in the next five years.

“So, you see that there will still be a shortage, given the fact that the population also keeps growing, instead therefore, each sugar industry has embarked on new sugar projects to cater for the growing sugar demand,” he says.

The executive secretary of Tanzania Sugarcane Growers Association (Tasga), Mr Sam Msimbira, shares Mr Mwankemwa’s sentiments. He said the five year sugar development plan, which started in 2011/12 financial year has five major objectives; including enhancing production of existing sugar producers; establishment of new sugar projects and improving supply of sugarcane by out-growers.

It also seeks to strengthen capacity to deliver on regulation, research, training and extension services and mainstreaming cross cutting issues within the industries.
The crosscutting issues, according to him, are tackling HIV/Aids, dealing with transport hurdles affecting cane out-growers and environmental conservation issues.

source: thecitizen

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