Tanzania: Relief As Local Factory Resumes Sugar Production

KILOMBERO Sugar Company has resumed production, with the industry projecting to pro- duce 127,000 tonnes during the 2020/2021 season.

That output will certainly provide huge relief in the local sugar market, which has recently experienced high scarcity of the sweetener, leading to unrealistic prices.

Like other sugar factories in the country, Kilombero Sugar Company had suspended pro- duction temporarily for a few months to pave way for annual maintenance of its factories.

For the 2020/2021 season, which officially commenced on May 19, this year, the sugar company is expecting to crash 1,328,445 tonnes of cane of which 600, 000 tonnes will come from Kilombero Valley cane growers and the rest from the company's own farms.

Morogoro Regional Commis- sioner, Loata Ole Sanare attended the inaugural event held recently at Kilombero Sugar Company as the Guest of Honor.

The RC was accompanied by Kilombero District Commissioner, James Ihunyo and Kilosa District Commissioner, Adam Mgoi.

Speaking during the event, Mr Sanare commended Kilombero Sugar Company for responding to a government call and resume sugar production two weeks earlier than initially planned.

"This will help increase sugar supply in Morogoro region and the country at large.

I am also im- pressed with the good distribution of sugar by Kilombero Sugar and good prices when selling imported sugar," said Ole Sanare.

Speaking of the 2020/2021 season, the Board Chairman for Ki- lombero Sugar Company, Ambassador Ami Mpungwe said although last season (2019/2020) was challenging, the company was optimis- tic about the upcoming season.

He said hopefully this time the company will achieve its produc- tion targets.

"Season 2019/2020 was marred by a few challenges but the major one being heavy rains, which made it difficult to harvest cane and ob- viously destroyed infrastructures hence making it even more difficult to transport cane, because of this we couldn't reach our target," said Am- bassador Mpungwe.

The factory had projected to produce 129,000 tonnes of sugar in the 2019/20 season but managed to produce 103,000 tonnes instead, said Ambassador Mpungwe, attributing the flop to heavy rains.

"The 2020/2021 season has commenced two weeks earlier in response to government's call for sugar factories to get back to busi- ness as soon as possible to lessen the sugar deficit impact in the market," said Ambassador Mpungwe, noting that by the end of May, the factory will have managed to produce 2,000 tonnes of sugar for dis- tribution.

Regarding the imported gap sugar, Head of Corporate Affairs for Kilombero Sugar Company, Joseph Rugaimukamu said by June, a total of 10,000 tonnes of sugar that were meant for Kilombero Sugar will have arrived, noting that by May 20th, the company had already received 6,416 tonnes of sugar which is being distributed to the market.

Sugar prices have gone up in the country during the past few weeks, with one kg of the sweet- ener traded at between 3,500/- and 4,500/- across the country.

But the government says the rise in prices has largely been caused by hoarders who keep the product in their warehouses to cre- ate an artificial shortage.

The Minister for Agriculture Japhet Hasunga and his Industry and Trade counterpart Mr Innocent Bashungwa, have pegged indicative retail price for Dar es Salaam at 2,600/- per kilogramme.

Other regions like Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Tanga, Morogoro, Coast the cap price is 2,700/- per kilogramme.

Recently, President John Magufuli said the government had managed to get sugar from Uganda as part of the government's efforts to address the existing shortage and expressed optimism that the crisis would soon end.

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