TANZANIA A multi-billion sugar plantation and processing project, which has been planned for Coast region’s Bagamoyo district is expected to turn the country into a net sugar exporter by 2030.

The Presidential Delivery Bureau (PDB) that executes the Big Results Now (BRN) initiative is upbeat that through the project, President Jakaya Kikwete’s forecast to have Tanzania becoming a net sugar exporter will be realised.

PDB Senior Agricultural Analyst James Ngwira, speaking in Dar es Salaam on Monday evening, said that the President’s wish to have 10 new sugar projects in the country by 2030 would be triggered by the take-off of the $500m project expected to produce 150,000 tonnes of sugar per year.

The project is part of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), an inclusive, multistakeholder partnership to rapidly develop the country’s agricultural potential.

Mr Ngwira said that to get such a reality, there should be one project every year, with $5bn going into the private sector.

He noted that with the country’s population growing at 3 per cent per year, it was important to support such large scale agriculture initiatives that would co-exist with smallholder farmers but also turn them into commercial farmers to produce more food.

Earlier, the Agro EcoEnergy (T) Executive Chairman, Per Carstedt, said the company is determined to implement the project involving the production of sugar and ethanol and the generation of electricity – some of it for sale to the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).

When operating at full capacity, the plant would also feed 1,000 MW into the national power grid and making available some 10 million litres of ethanol.

According to the design of the project, AfDB, through its private sector department, is to put into the Bagamoyo Eco-Energy (BEE) Sugar Estate project a non-concessional loan of USD 50 million as well as USD5 million in “standby senior loan facility”.

IFAD is ready to provide USD 50 million, of which USD 40 million would be a loan and USD 10 million a grant to support the project’s climate resilience activities.

Meanwhile, the PDB has invited key agriculture stakeholders to evaluate and propose solutions to critical agriculture marketing issues in Tanzania.

Towards that end, a five-day meeting has been organized to review current marketing models and trends for maize and paddy.

Inaugurating the meeting in Dar es Salaam on Monday, PDB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Omari Issa called upon all stakeholders involved to work together in developing practical solutions that will provide short term and long term relief to Tanzanian farmers.

He emphasized that BRN discipline requires both private and public actors to work together in unlocking critical issues facing key sectors like agriculture and that solutions to the marketing issues should come from both.

The meeting involves more than 50 participants from private sectors, international organizations, government representatives as well as farmers.

Tanzania as a whole, and specifically the schemes under BRN, experienced an enhanced crop yields of maize and paddy in the 2013/14 season which opened up new opportunities and challenges.

In the season, maize production reached six million tonnes from an average of 4.5 million in the five previous seasons. Rice production reached 1.7 million tonnes against an average of about 0.85 million tonnes previously.

At the end of the meeting, participants will come up with recommendations and an action plan for establishing a sustainable market infrastructure and linkages for maize and paddy. It is expected that those recommendations can be replicated for other crops – Daily News

April 23, 2015; http://allafrica.com/stories/201504220356.html