TANZANIA – Tanzania is taking decisive measures to alleviate its sugar deficit by importing more than 300,000 tonnes of sugar this year, according to the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Bashe.

The move comes as the government tackles the existing shortage of the sweetener, exacerbated by El Niño rains predicted earlier by the Tanzanian Meteorological Authority. 

Speaking at a briefing for editors in Dar es Salaam, Bashe highlighted that a ship was currently unloading over 25,000 tonnes of sugar at the Port of Dar es Salaam.  

He further explained that, through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), the government plans to import more than 300,000 tonnes of sugar this year to address the crisis. 

“We will continue importing sugar through NFRA. The sugar currently being unloaded, as I speak, has been brought by a company that has entered into an agreement with NFRA, not an industry, because this is a matter of food safety,” he stated. 

Bashe expressed optimism that the sugar availability would stabilize starting next month. He also criticized retailers for increasing the price of sugar, leading authorities to launch a crackdown on hoarding and price manipulation against the government’s set indicative prices. 

Mohamed Mchengerwa, Tanzania’s Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for regional administration and local governments, warned businesses against hoarding sugar, threatening legal consequences for those involved in malpractice.  

Mchengerwa also ordered regional and district commissioners to crack down on hoarders of the commodity. 

Earlier this year, Manyara sugar factory, one of Tanzania’s sugar milling companies, halted operations due to a severe shortage of sugarcane.  

Despite efforts by the government to boost sugar production, the impact of cane shortage has led to fluctuations in sugar prices. Tanzania has encouraged farmers to intensify sugarcane cultivation and implemented plans for well drilling to address water scarcity. 

The government has also increased access to improved sugarcane seeds through collaboration between SBT and the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI). The two entities are establishing a 400-hectare sugarcane nursery on the Kilombero River Basin. 

In December, the government inaugurated the Mkulazi sugar factory to meet the nation’s sugar demand.  

In its initial phase, the Mkulazi factory is projected to have a production capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes of sugar, with plans to escalate this figure to 75,000 metric tonnes per year. 

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