Tanzania targets to raise sugar production by 53.5 percent in two years

Efforts ripe, to make Tanzania sugar sufficiency by 2025

What you need to know:

  • The aim is to address the recurring challenges of sugar scarcity that have plagued the nation.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is embarking on an initiative that is geared at boosting sugar production by 53.5 percent over the next two years in a move that will alleviate the persistent shortages of sugar that the country has been facing.

This was announced by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa during his presentation of budget estimates for the financial year 2024/25 in Parliament on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

“The government's plan is to elevate production levels from an average of 460,048 tons recorded in 2022/2023 to 706,000 tons by the conclusion of the 2025/2026 fiscal year,” Mr Majaliwa told the Parliament on Wednesday.

The aim is to address the recurring challenges of sugar scarcity that have plagued the nation.

Tanzania has been grappling with frequent shortages of sugar, with recent incidents resulting in steep price increases.

Earlier this year, prices surged from an average of Sh2,300 in November 2023 to a staggering range of Sh4,000 to Sh6,000 per kilogram in January and February 2024.

Responding to public concerns, the Sugar Board of Tanzania implemented price caps varying between Sh2,700 and Sh3,200, depending on the selling point within the country.

And speaking in the Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Majaliwa said the demand for sugar in Tanzania for the fiscal year 2023/2024 stands at approximately 807,000 tons. Out of this figure, 552,000 tons are earmarked for domestic consumption, while the remaining 255,000 tons are designated for industrial usage.

However, the Prime Minister noted that the actual sugar production fell short of the target during the current production cycle. Despite an estimated production of 555,000 tons for regular consumption, the actual output amounted to 367,487.54 tons, equivalent to 66.2 percent of the target.

“This shortfall was primarily attributed to adverse weather conditions, specifically El-Nino rains that commenced towards the end of 2023. The resultant flooding disrupted sugarcane harvesting activities, leading to the suspension of sugar production in key factories such as TPC, Mtibwa, Bagamoyo, and K1 Sugar Factory of Kilombero Sugar Company since November 2023,” he said.

He said it was in response to soaring sugar prices that the government implemented various measures, including issuing permits to import 100,000 tons of sugar from abroad.

According to Mr Majaliwa, as of March 15, 2024, a total of 32,085.50 tons out of the approved 100,000 tons have been imported into the country, with distribution currently underway.

Additionally, the newly established Mkulazi II (Mbigiri) sugar factory, with a production capacity of 50,000 tons, commenced operations in December 2023.

Prime Minister Majaliwa assured lawmakers and the general public that the government remains committed to ensuring an increase in sugar availability in the market and its sale at regulated prices.

Furthermore, both short-term and long-term measures will be implemented, including coordinating imports, distribution, regulating prices, and encouraging producers to continue production ahead of the rainy season.