Kampala — Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association (USMA) has said it is not excited about supplying sugar to Tanzania and Kenya because the two countries only turn to Uganda in times of crisis.
Both Tanzania and Kenya are facing a sugar crisis resulting from increasing demand amid low supplies.
Tanzania, which last year blocked Uganda sugar from accessing its market, early last week announced it would issue sugar permits to exporters of Ugandan sugar to close a surging deficit.
Kenya has, since May, been relying on sugar supplies from Uganda due to an ongoing supply crisis.
Speaking to Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr Wilberforce Mubiru, the USMA secretariat manager, said the Ugandan sugar sector had no reason to be excited about the anticipated demand because Tanzania and Kenya only turn to Ugandan when they are having supply deficits.
"Tanzania is not getting any sugar from Uganda [at the moment], the information we have, is that and Tanzania said they will inform us when they have a deficit," he said, adding that even if it allowed the sugar supplies to be exported it would only be limited quantity.
Tanzania, he said, has agreements to trade with other countries, especially those in the Comesa and SADCA region.
Early, this week, Business Daily reported that Kenya and Tanzania would have to compete for Ugandan duty-free sugar due to an increasing supply shortage in the two countries. Mr Mubiru said, Uganda had enough sugar to close the demand gaps in the country if they are given an opportunity.
Tanzania currently has a shortage of 290,000 tonnes and has already considered issuing sugar permits to traders to import sugar from Uganda.
The country produces about 300,000 tonnes of raw sugar annually compared to demand volumes of 590,000 tonnes.
Mr Kenneth Barungi, the Kakira Sugar Works deputy general manager, emphasised that Uganda has the capacity to supply both countries.
"We have capacity to complement their supply, for example, we have about 30,000 tonnes of sugar seated in our stores. We are looking to see if Kenya or Tanzania can buy it," he said, admitting that they have always supplied Kenya, but supply to Tanzania has been problematic.