Tanzania has adopted the Indian and Chinese models in fresh efforts to end recurring sugar shortages.
The model entails the use of sugarcane processing mini-plants to up supply for the sweetener to fill a deficit gap of 300,000 tonnes.
The country’s four factories of Kagera Sugar, Kilombero Sugar, Mtibwa Sugar Estates and TPC Ltd together produce an estimated 370,000 tonnes of sugar annually against the domestic demand for about 670,000 tonnes.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Industry and Trade minister Kitila Mkumbo said the move was one of the initiatives that President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration has taken to ensure that Tanzania is self-sufficient in sugar production.
“If we are to bridge the sugar deficit gap, we need small-scale processors to complement large-scale ones (plants),” Prof Mkumbo said.
The Tanzania Engineering and Manufacturing Design Organisation’s (Temdo) director general, Mr Frederick Kahimba, said they were doing both designing and manufacturing of sugarcane processing mini plants.
“We are expecting to complete manufacturing of the sugarcane processing mini-plant by June 2022 before starting operations the following month (July),” he told the press conference.
The single plant, Prof Kahimba said, will have the capacity to process 10 tonnes of raw-cane a day.
For small-scale processors to get the sugarcane processing mini-plant from Temdo, they must have some Sh250 million.
“It is not as expensive as it may seem. The price is less by twice than the imported ones,” noted Prof Kahimba.
“We are doing all in our power for Tanzania to become self-sufficient. We want to start producing 700,000 tonnes of sugar by 2025.”
Noting that some 200,000 tonnes of sugarcane were being left unsold annually, he said the new move would create a market for the raw material.
He said they were now waiting for the government’s disbursement of the Sh280 million set aside for designing and preparing plant prototypes in the current financial year.
Following the shortage of sugar in the country, some unscrupulous traders have in the past been reported to hoard the product, thus hiking its price.
The latest incident was reported in April 2020 where retail prices went up.
A kilogramme of sugar in most parts of the country had shot up from Sh2,500-Sh2,800 to Sh4,500.
In another development, the Industry and Trade minister yesterday announced the government’s decision to put the 20 formally-privatised manufacturing industries up for sale after the owners failed to develop them.
Prof Mkumbo said ten manufacturing industries needed new investors. These include Kilimanjaro Paddy Haulling Company (Moshi), Polysacks Company Limited (Dar es Salaam), NMC Isaka Rice Mill Company Ltd (Shinyanga), Multipurpose Oil Seeds Processing Company Ltd (Morogoro), CDA Integrated Seeds Concrete Industry (Dodoma), Manawa Generries Ltd (Mwanza.
Others are NMC Tabora Rice Mill (Tabora), Musoma Textile Mills (Musoma), NMC Mzizima Maize Mills (Dar es Salaam), and Pesticides Manufacturers Ltd (Moshi)
He also said that eight out of the 20 manufacturing industries were put under the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) for prospective investors.
They include Mwanza Tanneries, TPL Shinyanga Meat Plant, Mafuta Ilulu (Lindi), Nachingwea Cashew nuts (Lindi), Mkata Sawmill Ltd (Tanga), TPL Mbeya Sikh Sawmill Ltd (Tanga), National Steel Corporation (Dar es Salaam).
On the other hand, Prof Mkumbo said, two of the 20 manufacturing industries are up for investment in the form of Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
These are Mbeya Ceramic Ltd (Mbeya) and Mangula Mechanical and Machine Tools (Morogoro).
In the 1990s, the government privatised 156 manufacturing industries.
By Fat-hiya Segumba