UGANDA – Tanzania has partly opened borders to Ugandan sugar exports following more than a year of being locked, on accusation that the latter is importing and repacking the sugar for export.

According to a report by Daily Monitor, this was revealed by Mr Japheth Hasunga, the Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture who was in Uganda to asses its sugar production and capacity.

He visited Uganda’s four major sugar factories out of the 11 operation i.e. Kakira Sugar Works, Kinyara, Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited.

He noted that the sugar will be traded under a new arrangement that will only involve government-to-government.

“We are satisfied with the current rate of Uganda’s sugar production and we shall start with 30,000 metric tonnes, but that will depend on the prices, we don’t know how much the factories will charge and then we shall place another order. We shall start business as soon as possible,” said Mr Hasunga.

Previously, the Tanzanian government had been issuing permits to dealers and millers.

Mr Hasunga also noted that it was much better “we start trading between ourselves to promote the East African integration”, adding there will be no “change in Import Duty because all the goods being produced in East Africa have a rule of origin”.

Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the Minister of Trade of Uganda alongside sugar producers and other stakeholders led the Ugandan delegation in the discussions that sought to form a trade deal.

The negotiations, she said, were still ongoing and details will be divulged at an appropriate time.

“The purpose of this visit by Tanzania’s Agriculture minister is to establish whether we can do business together as two countries since Uganda has been declared a sugar surplus country. This in a way is to verify whether we have the capacity to sell to them,” she said.

“Our negotiations are to sum the tour we had in different sugar factories but also harmonise our thinking of how Uganda can trade with Tanzania,” she added.

Uganda currently exports much of its sugar to DR Congo, South Sudan and Zambia.

As of September 2019, data from the Ministry of Finance indicate that Uganda exported 130,090 metric tonnes of sugar, which translated into US$83m (Shs310b).

According to Ministry of Trade data, Uganda’s total sugar production currently stands at 510,000 metric tonnes. However, only 360,000 metric tonnes are consumed, creating a surplus of 150,000 metric tonnes.

Tanzania is currently suffering a deficit in sugar production with demand outstripping supply with an annual production capacity standing at 300,000 metric tonnes per year, which presents the country with a deficit of 90,000 metric tonnes.

They have mainly been importing sugar from Brazil.