TANZANIA and China have a historical relationship that started many decades ago. The two countries have continued to work together in both political and social economic aspects.
Available data show that Tanzania is China’s largest aid recipient country in Africa. For some decades now, China has provided various kinds of assistance in Tanzania ranging from agriculture, industries, transportation infrastructures, Health and many others.
Sino-Tanzanian relations have witnessed a long-term healthy and steady development since the establishment of diplomatic relations. China-Tanzanian industrial capacity cooperation joint ventures and even private investments in various disciplines started way back in the 1960s and has been developing rapidly in recent years.
These investments have posed a significant impact on the production and promotion of domestic products on balancing the demand and supply forces and also increase employment in the respective sectors.
However, from the outset of bilateral relations, China has assisted Tanzania with a variety of generous economic aid programmes. In the course of harmonising these economic aid programmes, the government of the United Republic of Tanzania established a centre (Tanzania Investment Centre – TIC) which is responsible for foreign investment by facilitating smooth implementation of Tanzania Investment Policy.
Sunshine Group Company Limited is among the investors from China who have enjoyed investing in Tanzania through TIC.
The company has invested and it operates its business in Tanzania. The company is currently enjoying business benefits within the TIC framework. Sunshine Group Company Limited: A reliable source of Sunflower Food Oil and Youth Employment in Dodoma THE producer of sunflower oil namely SunBelt in Tanzania, Sunshine Industrial Company Limited, proudly says that it could not be in motion today in the country, if sunflower local farmers were not there.
The company which is situated along Zuzu area in the outskirts of Dodoma is privately owned by Chinese, with the capacity of producing 200 tonnes of sunflower cooking oil per day.
This is according to the Factory Production Manager, Mr. Wang Chang Feng. According to him, to produce such amount of cooking oil requires them to run the factory every hour of a day, in each month of the year, just as planned.
“This means, we must have adequate raw materials in our stock, especially sunflower seeds plus sufficient fuel to run generators, because the electricity cut offs occur at least every week,” he said.
The Factory Manager, Mr Yu Bo said that the business, which includes an industrial unit with 57 workers from three nations; Tanzania (41), India (1) and China (14) is a result of an investment of billions of shillings, with varying running cost every year.
He said, due to various changes in prices of raw materials for example sunflower seeds, fuel for running generators and production machines when electricity goes off, costs of maintenance of machines, transportation and salaries and other payments seem necessary for the day to day running of business, which emerge occasionally.
“We also pay wages to our weekly workers and this varies from time to time depending on the work done. But in most cases, the wages increase as tasks increase especially when the production pumps up”, Mr. Bo noted.
He added that, despite the shortcomings on the availability of electricity, they have plans to invest more in such business through opening more factories in other places in the country.
The Factory Manager confirmed that the plans will turn to reality after they are satisfied with the availability of steadfast markets in and outside Tanzania. He however, reveals that to date, their cooking oil is consumed by the local markets only and that Supermarkets have been reliable customers.
Any investor would like to expand his investment, especially in a peaceful country like Tanzania where security and political stability is high, but this should not be the only reason since investors want to see profits, so it is possible to delay good plans in order to dig down truth about the availability of unshakable markets.
Apart from that, Mr Bo points out that Sunshine cares about local farmers who are its best sellers of sunflower seeds. He says that if they had produced sufficient sunflowers in high quality and at a needed time, and if the markets were reliable as per now, plans to open other factories would be underway.
Sunflower seeds ready for processing Due to what he has said, there is a need to encourage local farmers to increase their supply to match the demand for sunflower seeds, because buyers are already in front of their doors waiting for them to bring out enough tonnes of sucks of sunflower seeds.
In support to that, Mr Hu Xiao Long who also works with Sunshine Company says that they have been visiting their sunflower seeds’ farmers and sellers at Singida, Kibaigwa and in other districts of Dodoma in order to encourage them increase their production.
“We would like to request the government to continue assisting local farmers in all ways seem possible, especially those who produce raw materials for local industries, in order that they increase morale to work hard and produce more of what are needed at a required quality and time,” Long says.
Mr. Long, Feng and Bo admit that despite the fact that sunflower local farmers produce less than what is required; Sunshine Company is shining today in Tanzania because of them.
For the time being, Sunshine is not planning to import raw materials. This, regarding what the Factory Manager says, is a way to support local farmers as advocated by President John Magufuli.
“We are going well with our local sunflower farmers in the country. We mostly visit them in their villages and exchange ideas about what they think could be done to make sure they do not stuck on the way.
We also tell them what we expect from their products. Now, a simple question comes; how would we shine without sunflower seeds? Sure, no Sunbelt without sunflower seeds. We respect our local farmers” About SunBelt oil The Company which started its operations in 2015 adheres to Tanzania Bureau of Standards’ quality regulations and requirements.
According to the company’s management, the produced oil passes through strict checking to assure its quality and safety, before it reaches the market.
The Production Manager says that they are always free for inspections by Authorities like Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) and others who conduct random and impromptu inspections to factories and other business production areas. Colour of SunBelt oil Our cooking oil has a light colour unlike other sunflower cooking oils because it is processed six times before an okay mark is given to show that it’s ready for use.
“We always filter and refine sunflower crude oils six times to make sure that it is rid of impurities and that there are no contaminations. When crude oil goes through such processes it must seen clear and clean, with no too much smell,” Mr. Feng says.
Challenges and way forward Sunshine Company mentions some challenges which it requests the government to work on them in order for the company to enjoy smooth running of their business.
The team, which gave comments or speeches to the Daily News lists electricity cuts as a major problem to them, as they claim that it forces them to incur more costs of production to buy fuel for generators and machines.
Another challenges mentioned are; lack of good roads in many places where they must reach either to buy raw materials or take their cooking oil for sale and unreliable telephone networks.
“The roads are very rough that we fail sometime to go with time when it rains, also telephone companies have forgotten us in Zuzu because we face connection problems for all networks, and it happens all days that we have to stay unconnected for longer times in a day before it reconnects. I think we need considerations on these,” Mr. Long says.