THE government has backtracked on its decision to revoke sugar import permits to local producers after they boosted production to narrow deficit of the product to 30,000 tonnes only.
The Minister for Agriculture, Josephat Hasunga told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the government saw no need to ban sugar producers from importing the product after realizing they have managed to increase the production.
"We commend the work done and continues to be done by our producers. A few days ago I said they produce 320,000 tonnes but for the time being their capacity has reached 345,000 which is very good and we commend them," he said.
A few days ago, the minister announced revocation of sugar import permits and required them to come up with strategies to boost sugar production to meet local demand for domestic and industrial use.
But he said yesterday that following an agreement made earlier that only local factories have mandate to import the sugar, while they expand their production capacity, there was no need to authorize anyone else for the importation.
According to him, there was a proposal from stakeholders for Zanzibar intending to supply the missing gap to Tanzania Mainland, but it has been proved that the factory capacity was too small to export.
He further noted that Tanzanians shouldn't worry since many more investors have been emerging to grab opportunities in investments in sugar production and it was expected that by 2021 Tanzania could be able to meet the local markets' demand and remain with surplus for export.
He affirmed that, Bakhresa Group of Companies was in the process to establish a plant in Bagamoyo, Coast region, with ability to produce 100,000 tonnes annually but will initially start with 35,000 tonnes. Production activities are set to take-off by 2021, he said.
Mr Hasunga added that there were also Mkulazi sugar producer in Morogoro whose production processes were on final stage where in sugarcane plantation activities were over.