TANZANIA – The Tanzanian government has lifted the temporary sugar importation ban imposed to local producers after striking a deal with the producers to increase local production.

According to Minister for Agriculture, Japhet Hasunga only local sugar producers will have the mandate to import the sugar, while they expand their production capacity, reports Daily News.

The government had imposed the ban earlier in February this year in a move to protect the local industry as it sought to enable increased local sugar production.

“We have realised that sugar companies import sugar very fast, overlooking their role of producing; this is not acceptable, we think we should release them from importing sugar,” said Mr Husanga while imposing the ban.

However, the government said that it is now confident that local producers have embarked on strategies to boost local production, after they managed to increase production capacity.

“We commend the work done and continues to be done by our producers. A few days ago I said they produce 320,000 tonnes but for the time being their capacity has reached 345,000 which is very good and we commend them.

We are now satisfied with the companies’ strategic plans to increase sugar production and that is why we have decided to allow them to supply and import sugar for domestic consumption,” Mr Husanga said.

The minister had revoked processors’ sugar import permits requiring them to device strategies to boost sugar production to meet local demand for domestic and industrial use.

Sugar in Tanzania is mainly supplied by four companies: Kilombero Sugar Company, majority owned by South Africa’s Illovo Sugar, Mtibwa, Kagera, and TPC, a unit of Mauritius sugar producer Alteo.

Additionally, the sector is also set to receive a major boost once Mkulazi Sugar, owned by two leading pension schemes in Tanzania, and Bakhresa Group’s Bagamoyo factory with capacity to produce 250,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes commences operations.

According to Mr Husanga, the country seeks to be sugar sufficient by 2021 with a production capacity sufficient to meet local demand and supply to the export market.

In January, the government also lifted the sugar import ban from Uganda and started issuing permits to traders to import the commodity from Uganda.