Sugar industry poised for further growth with investor upsurge
THE supply of sugar against demand is set to increase as more investors have shown interests to venture into investment in the sector, hence promising a big relief in prices of the commodity in the country in future.
In this vein, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage, and the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba, would this month depart to Mauritius in a mission to attract investors into the sugar sector.
The Permanent Secretary in the Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry, Professor Adolf Mkenda, told the ‘Daily News’ through the telephone yesterday that preparations were being made for the trip. “The talks with Mauritius have already been held and they are waiting for us to go,” Prof Mkenda said.
The good news from the government came at the time when Tanzanians are now feeling the pinch of hiked sugar prices for the past eight months. Prices for the essential commodity went up from early this year when the shortage of the product hit the market due to some of the traders ‘sabotaging’ the economy by holding big chunks of sugar in their warehouses.
The situation had forced the government to embark on a countrywide search for hidden sugar, which resulted into prices going up to over 3,000/- from about 2,000/- per kilogramme in many parts.Since then, prices have slightly gone down, largely hovering at around 2,500/- per kilogramme.
Mr Mwijage, told the ‘Daily News’ that the sugar production was good for the country as it serves as a catalyst to utilise its potential capacity of producing 2 million tonnes against the current 300,000 tonnes per year.
The minister noted that several local and foreign investors were now in different stages to set up sugar firms -- mainly in Morogoro, Kigoma and Songwe regions as well as Rufiji District of Coast Region.
Last week, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and PPF Pension Fund announced plans to jointly establish a sugar processing factory at Mkunazini and Ngerengere in Morogoro Region. The pension funds stated that the proposed factory will be in a position to churn out 200,000 tonnes of sugar per year.
Mr Mwijage noted that in Rufiji two major foreign investors are set to establish giant sugar factories. But he was not in position to tell the timeframe within which they would start operations. He said another foreign investor was set to embark on massive sugarcane farming in Songwe, noting that currently, talks are ongoing with the relevant authorities for the company to begin production.
He further noted that the plans were also to make the existing sugar factories to raise their production capacity, saying the Morogoro sugar industry is set to produce 270,000 tonnes per year by 2020. He said Kilombero sugar and Kagera sugar factories were directed to produce more.
According to him, the ministry is now conducting talks with existing sugar producers to list down the challenges they face in efforts to increase production to enable the government to find solutions
.Meanwhile, Mr Mwijage reported that his ministry has implemented the directive by President John Magufuli to set aside 10,000 hectares of land in Bagomoyo District for Bakhresa Group of Companies to establish a sugar factory.