The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Kabuye Sugar Works to Tripple Production

THE government is set to partner with Rwanda's sugar producer Kabuye Sugar Works to boost the company's sugar production.

The Prime Minister Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi announced this while touring the sugar factory, last week.

According to the company's General Manager, Thiru Navukkarasu, the partnership will enable the factory to increase sugar production from the current 11,000 tonnes to over 30,000 tonnes annually.

A total of Euro 8 million will be invested in the project.

The government with support from the Dutch Government will inject Euros 5 million (approximately Rwf4.9bn) in a drainage project, while Kabuye Sugar Works will contribute Euros 3 million (about Rwf2.4bn).

The government allocated 3148 hectares of land to Kabuye Sugar Works in Nyabarongo and Nyabugogo areas, but the company says 1448 hectares of the land is permanently submerged due to a poor drainage system; which undermines its sugarcane production.

Officials say the subsequent floods in the area account for a loss of 35,000 tonnes of sugar cane which could have produced an additional 3200 tonnes of sugar per annum.

"When we implement this project, we are convinced that the land on which sugar cane is being grown by the factory and the out growers will increase to at least 3200 hectares from the current 1700 hectares," said the Prime Minister.

Various government officials, including Agriculture Minister, Dr Agnes Kalibata, Francois Kanimba for Trade and Industry and Dr Alex Nzahabwanimana, the State Minister in charge of Transport, and Kigali City Mayor, Fidele Ndayisaba were part of the tour.

Also in attendance was the Private Sector Federation Chief Executive Officer, Hannington Namara.

During the tour, the officials discussed modalities of implementing the joint drainage system project, and specific roles of each party.

"What we need is to ensure that there is increase in sugar cane production especially by the out growers. This will effectively contribute to increase in sugar production," said Kalibata.

She explained that the ministry would build capacity for the out growers and help farmers to increase the land acreage for planting sugarcane.

On his part, Minister Kanimba noted that given the available opportunities, Kabuye Sugar Works has the capacity to produce enough sugar for the country.

He pointed out the need for the factory to coordinate, and work together with both the out growers and the government.

Other concerns that were raised by Kabuye Sugar Workers include the poor state of feeder roads that out growers use to transport their produce which the company said had not only led to delays in transportation but also increased costs due to frequent breakdown of trucks.

This especially affects farmers in Mageragere, Runda-Ngamaba, and Rugarika-Mugina Sector all in Gasabo district.

But minister Nzahabwanimana explained that the poor state of roads was a temporally problem caused by flooding.

There has been a reduction of sugar production from 15,000 tonnes that the factory used to produce between 2007 and 2008.

The country's annual sugar demand stands at 70,000 tonnes.

The deficit forces government to import expensive sugar from neighbouring countries.

Floods affect not only sugarcane production per hectare, but directly reduce the quantity and quality of sugar produced, according to Navukkarasu.

Due to floods, Navukkarasu said, the factory loses Rwf1.92 billion per annum.

With the new move, the company says at least 40,000 hectares of land will be earmarked for sugarcane growing.

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