THE Parliamentary Public Investment Committee (PIC) has commended the Kilombero Sugar Company (KSC) expansion plan that will boost sugar output in the country as well as guarantee reliable markets to cane farmers.
The call was made over the weekend during PIC tour to the sugar company urging them to stay put in realising their expansion project that will have huge impact in the country's sugar industry.
During the visits, PIC members had a chance to converse with KSC management as well as members of Associations of cane farmers who supply 40 per cent of cane crushed by the sugar factory.
"We have learned from our conversation with the Kilombero cane farmers who supply cane to Kilombero Sugar that one of their major outcries is the factory's capacity to crush all the cane they produce per annum, they have demonstrated the capacity to produce 850,000 tons of cane but at the moment the factory can only crush 600,000 tons," said one PIC member, Daimu Mpakati (MP - Tunduru South) emphasising that there is a need for Kilombero Sugar to work on the expansion plans.
On her part, Deputy Chairperson for PIC, Zainab Vulu said the committee will work with the Treasurer Register office and share the report of their visit and meeting to see how the government can support Kilombero Sugar's expansion project, especially since Kilombero cane farmers have already shown interest to supply more cane to the factory upon increased capacity of crushing the cane.
"I commend Kilombero Sugar Company for having created an enormous economic impact directly and indirectly around the Kilombero valley through their investment in the sugar factory, the expansion plan is in line with the government's emphasis on achieving industrial economy," she said.
Addressing the PIC delegation, KSC Board Chairman, Ambassador Ami Mpungwe said the sugar factory has come a long way, from wanting to shut down the business in 2012/2013 to executing expansion plan, thanks to the support of the government under President John Magufuli.
"We are grateful for President Magufuli's tireless efforts to protect the local sugar industry by controlling the modus operandi of sugar importation in the country, it is through his efforts that our business managed to pick up and we are now at a point of working towards expansion," said Amb. Mpungwe.
Speaking of the modal of operation by Kilombero Sugar, which entails Kilombero cane growers as part of the business by providing 40 per cent of the cane, Mpungwe said, the model is aimed at creating a sustainable economic growth across the Kilombero community and its surroundings, noting that a total of 2,000 businesses along Kilombero valley are as a result of Kilombero Sugar's investment.
He added that, KSC will continue to provide technical support to Kilombero cane farmers through its team of extension officers who continue to work closely with the farmers to further educate them about cane farming.
Upon expansion, the number of Kilombero cane growers which now stands at 8,000 is projected to double and increase cane production from the current 600,000 to 1,450,000 tons a year whereby the farmers will supply 60 per cent of the cane needed by sugar factory.
The expansion will also increase sugar production by Kilombero Sugar Company, from the current 128,000 tonnes to 260,000 tons.