Tanzania’s Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, has instructed sugar producing factories to put measures in place, which will ensure that sugar production capacity in the country stands at 100 per cent by 2020.
Mr Majaliwa issued the directive in Morogoro on Tuesday when he visited the Mtibwa Sugar Factory where he underscored the need for local industries to increase production and avoid unnecessary imports. The PM said the government was currently capitalising on strengthening local industries, insisting that it was high time sugar industries stepped up production to tackle the scarcity.
“I understand that currently, the sugar demand in the country stands at 400,000 tonnes per year; but I have directed the Tanzania Sugar Board to sit together with experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to identify the amount of sugar required in the country,” he added.
Mr Majaliwa said the government had put measures in place to protect the local industries by imposing more tax on imported products that can be produced locally including sugar. He said local industries should strive to produce more.
Currently, the country has sugar production capacity of 320,000 per year while the required amount of sugar stands at 420,000 tonnes, meaning there is a scarcity of 100,000 tonnes. Winding up debate on the 2016/17 budget estimates for his office in April, Mr Majaliwa noted that there was a stock of sugar of about 37,000 tonnes in the country, which he said was in the market.
He said the government had already ordered sugar to cover the deficit, adding that the state was avoiding ordering a huge consignment to avoid crippling local industries. However, Mr Majaliwa added, the government was putting measures in place to ensure that there was enough sugar production to avoid importing the essential commodity.
The premier asked owners of sugar factories to provide incentives to farmers by purchasing their sugarcane at better prices and pay them on time for them to reap maximum benefit from their products.
Earlier, when briefing the prime minister, the factory’s Senior Public Relations Officer, Mr Ibrahim Juma, said the company was currently producing 20,000 tonnes every year and expected to increase the amount to 70,000 by 2021.
Mr Juma said sugar production at the factory went down due to importation of sugar from outside the country, commending the government for its decision to seal loopholes for illegal importation of the commodity.
He added that plans were afoot to extend farms at the factory by 400,000 hectares to fulfil the government’s dream to have enough sugar in the country and avoid importation.
Source: Footprint to Africa