TANZANIA– Tanzania will not import sugar for domestic use during the 2014/15 fiscal year as advised by the Technical Advisory Committee on Sugar Importation which is under the Tanzania Sugar Board (TSB), the National Assembly was told on Friday.

Smuggling of sugar into the country, dumping of the sweetener in the local market meant for transit as well as industrial sugar being sold to people, are among challenges facing the sugar industry in Tanzania.

This was revealed by Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives, Mr Godfrey Zambi, while issuing a government statement on importation of sugar during the financial year under review.

“However, given the fact the season is not over the recommendation on not to import sugar during the year may change depending on local production of the sweetener,” he said.

He added: “During its meeting in October, last year, the committee recommended that there should not be imports to cover the shortage this year after their assessment of demand and available stocks and expected production at local industries,” Mr Zambi explained.

Mr Zambi said the committee had recommended only importation of industrial sugar in which 182,765 tonnes are to be imported to be used for industrial production.

“A total of 25 industries were to import the sweetener and as of January 8, this year, permits were issued for importation of 46,984 tonnes of which 36,103 tonnes has already been imported,” the deputy minister explained. Demand for sugar in Tanzania stands at 420,000 and 170,000 tonnes per annum for domestic and industrial sugar, making it a total of 590,000 tonnes each year.

Yet local industries can only produce 300,000 tonnes, thus each year there is a shortage of 290,000 tonnes for domestic and industrial use. Of the 290,000 tonnes, 120,000 are for domestic use and 170,000 for industrial production.

Privatisation of sugar industries namely Kagera, Mtibwa, TPC and Kilombero between the year 1998 and 2000, according to the deputy minister, has helped boost production from just 98,000 tonnes in 1998 to 300,000 tonnes at present.

February 4, 2015; http://allafrica.com/stories/201502020319.html