KILOMBERO Sugar Company Limited (KSCL) has started distilling extra neutral alcohol (ENA), which is used as an input to produce industrial alcohol.
KSCL has invested 78bn/- in the distillery that uses ferments cane molasses to produce 40,000 litres of ENA per day.
According to KSCL Managing Director Mark Brainbridge, the new plant uses cane molasses which are the byproduct in cane extraction process.
"We have just commissioned the brand new 78bn/- distillery at Kilombero," Mr Brainbridge said in an interview with the 'Daily News'.
The industrial alcohol is used in the production of cosmetics, adhesives, detergents and alcoholic beverages. This is the first time industrial alcohol is being produced locally.
KSCL was privatized to Illovo Group of South Africa in the late 1990s, with the new investor pumping in 80bn/- in factory and estate rehabilitation that was completed in 1998.
"Following the rehabilitation," Mr Brainbridge said, "We invested an additional 16bn/- in the refinery and expansion of both factories."
Over the past two years, KSCL have invested 30bn/- in irrigation, drainage and further expansion of the factories in addition to the recently commissioned 78bn/- ethanol distillery.
Between 2004/5 and 2012/13, Kilombero Sugar has paid over 136bn/- in taxes and 10bn/- dividends to the government, a shareholder in KSCL. The sugar manufacturer had a record production last year, with estate cane production reaching 725,000 tonnes.
It has a record total sugar production in the 2012/13 season as well, producing over 130,000 tonnes. "Kilombero's 2012/13 average yield of 78 tonnes per hectare was among the highest in the region," Mr Brainbridge said, "This year will see further development on both indicators."
Total cane production, covering both the company and independent out-growers reached 1.3 million tonnes during the 2012/13 crop season, far higher than production level of less than 150,000 tonnes during privatisation in 1998.
Kilombero Sugar's total area under cane is around 24,000 ha of which KSCL farms nearly 10,000 ha, with 65 per cent of the land under irrigation.
Official data shows that the sugarcane industry contributes about 280bn/- in foreign exchange savings per year, pays 100bn/- to government coffers and employs over 18,000 people.