SUGAR factories are battling to resume and increase their production in an endeavor to bridge the existing demand and supply gap.
The country has recently witnessed a shortage of the sweetener due to a number of factors, largely slowing domestic production.
Prolonged heavy rains have affected production, as local industries either temporarily halted or reduced production, resulting in acute shortage of the product in retail shops.
But most of the industries are resuming production and that is expected to increase supply and reduce retail prices that have shot up extremely recently.
TPC Sugar Company in Kilimanjaro re- gion said on Tuesday, it projects to increase sugar production this season to 97,000 metric tons, up from 88,000 tons produced last season.
TPC Corporate Affairs Executive Officer, Mr Jaffari Ally told the 'Daily News' that the projections of production are up as every year they strategize on increasing their production capacity so as to meet the ever-increasing demand of the sweetener.
Sugar production activities at the sugar refining mill situated in Moshi town will resume on June 9, this year after normal annual closure that is done so as to pave way for maintenance of the machines as well as avoid effects of floods during the rainy season.
Speaking of the challenges the company has been encountering, Mr Ally listed among others a yellow sugarcane afield that affects productivity of sugarcane, reducing it by 10 percent.
"We have been facing and battling the yellow sugarcane afield for sometimes now; It greatly affects our sugarcane productivity by almost 10 percent. It is a disease that entered Africa around 2017.
We are adamant that this year we will reduce its spread and effect," said Mr Ally optimistically.
The company, in which the government has 25 percent shares with the main shareholders Mauritius registered Sugar Investment Company that purchased 75 percent shares in 2000, has also faced flood challenges, as it rained heavily for the past eight to nine months.
"This year the rains have been heavy and that caused floods...the floods affected our infrastructure.
The fields of sugarcane were covered completely by the water for a long time and more than 150 hectares were affected," said Mr Ally.
Last week, Kilombero Sugar Company resumed production, with the industry projecting to produce 127,000 tons during the 2020/2021 season.
The output together with that of TPC and other facto- ries across the country will certainly provide huge relief in the local sugar market, which has recently experienced high scarcity of the sweetener, leading to unrealistic prices.