Tanzania is wooing local and foreign investors to establish sugarcane farms and factories to help meet the rising sugar demand.
Tanzania has a sugar deficit of 135,000 tonnes, and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said that the government had issued import permits to sugar manufacturers to import the commodity, while seeking investors to venture into sugarcane cultivation and sugar processing as a permanent solution to the shortage.
The Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment Charles Mwijage earlier told The EastAfrican that the government had set aside some 294,000 hectares to be allocated to companies looking to develop sugarcane plantations.
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and PPF Pension Fund are constructing sugar cane cultivation and raw production at Mkulazi Sugar Farm in Morogoro region, aiming to produce 30,000 tonnes of sugar per year.
Mkulazi Sugar factory now under construction, is expected to start production by January 2019.
The Sultanate of Oman had agreed to invest on sugarcane cultivation in Kagera region in western Tanzania so as to boost production of for Kagera Sugar Factory. The factory hopes to raise its production from 60 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes per year.
Executive director of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation Godfrey Simbeye said that more investors in the sugar sector were needed to boost annual production.
Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade shows that Tanzania produces about 300,000 tonnes of raw sugar annually, leaving a demand gap of about 135,000 and 220,000 tonnes for domestic and industrial sugar.
Tanzania has four estates and factories producing a total of 300,000 tonnes of sugar per year in their full capacity.
Sugar production comes mainly from four large companies — Kilombero Sugar Company, majority owned by South Africa’s Illovo Sugar, Mtibwa, Kagera and TPC, a unit of Mauritius sugar producer Alteo.
Kilombero is looking to build a new factory with expansion of sugar farms in Morogoro region where it operates. The company hopes to increase production from 126,000 tonnes to 250,000 per year.
“We are looking to support government’s industrialisation drive that will ensure Tanzania produces enough sugar to meet domestic demand,” said executive director Guy Williams.