TANZANIA – Said Salim Bakhresa Ltd, the flag-ship company of the Bakhresa Group, has kick started operations at the first phase of its US$300 million Bagamoyo Sugar Limited.
The initial phase of the project which costed US$110m, has an installed processing capacity of between 30,000 tonnes and 40,000 tonnes per year depending on availability of raw materials.
To ensure availability of inputs, the company has cultivated another 800 hectares of land, an addition to the 1,200 hectares previously put under sugarcane production, alongside sourcing from out grower farmers.
Completion of the first phase of the factory has created about 800 direct jobs in the local economy.
“Our factory is expandable; depending on the availability of sugarcane, it can go up to an annual production capacity of 100,000 tonnes upon completion of all the three phases,” said SSBG corporate affairs director Hussein Sufian.
The decision to establish Bagamoyo Sugar Ltd came after the late President John Magufuli allocated 10,000 hectares of land to the business tycoon and owner of Bakhresa group, Mr Said Salim Bakhresa, to establish a sugar plant.
The investment is in line with the country’s policy to achieve self-sufficiency by 2025 to reach 700,000 tons from the current 368,000 tons, against the demand of 635,000 tonnes.
Further boosting sugar production in the East African country, Illovo Sugar Africa, a Pan-African consumer centric agri-business with roots in growing and making sugar and related products, recently announced the commencement of its US$238.5 million expansion project in Tanzania.
The planned investment at Kilombero Sugar Company, co-owned alongside the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania having 25% stake, has been in the pipeline for a number of years.
This new development will increase Kilombero’s sugar production by 144 000 tons from current levels of around 127 000 tons of sugar per annum, to 271 000 tons.
The project construction phase is expected to be completed in July 2023.
Other than meeting the local customer demand of sugar, the plant will cogenerate electricity for the Kilombero manufacturing complex and for export to the national Tanzanian grid.
A 4 000 kilolitre increase in the production of ethanol at the adjacent ethanol distillery will be realised, bringing total annual production up to 16 000 kilolitres in order to meet growing local and East African export demand for potable alcohol.
In what could also be described as a boost to the sector, in January this year, another player, Lake Agro Investment, started the implementation of its US$70 million sugar production project in Utete, Rufiji District in Coast Region.
The project is expected to produce 100,000 tonnes of sugar per annum and create 10,000 direct jobs.
“If you look at a wider picture, these initiatives make us see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are confident we will realise our dream of making Tanzania sugar self-sufficient by 2025 and thus addressing constant sugar shortages in the market,” said Investment, Industry and Trade Deputy Minister Exaud Kigahe.
Kigahe exuded his optimism, highlighting that the moves will make Tanzania competitive in the East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).