KILOMBERO Sugar Company (KSC) has unveiled plans to expand production capacity and double sugar output in order to address the national sugar gap.
According to findings of the feasibility study conducted on the envisioned sugar factory expansion, the sugar company could increase its production capacity from the current 130,000 tonnes to 265,000 tonnes per annum.
KSC General Manager for Corporate Affairs, Joseph Rugaimukamu said, “We cannot underestimate the contribution of Kilombero cane growers in this endeavour and KSC is committed to work closely with other stakeholders especially the government to support the growers to ensure that they have the means necessary to increase cane production and benefit from the project,” Mr Rugaimukamu made the remarks while addressing stakeholders meeting with the government and non-government institutions to share the findings of the study on the sugar factory’s expansion plan.
The meeting was attended by the Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Dr Steven Kebwe and the Kilombero District Commissioner, James Ihunyo.
Also, in attendance were the representatives from SAGCOT (Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor), Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT), National Environment Management Council (NEMC) as well as representatives for Kilosa, Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARIKibaha) and representatives of Kilombero cane growers.
He said cane growers from the Kilombero valley will play a big role in this project as they would be expected to supply 60 per cent of the cane needed by the factory should the expansion project come to light.
Currently, Kilombero cane growers supply 40 per cent of the cane crushed by the sugar factory. Mr Rugaimukamu said KSC was committed to support growers to reach this goal in various ways which will be communicated at a later stage.
“To begin with, KSC has financed the aerial and topographical mapping of the area, infrastructure requirements survey, soil survey and will provide land for the initial clean seed nursery establishment,” he added.
KSC has also procured a Hot Water Treatment Plant (HWTP) for that purpose.
Moreover, KSC cane grower department has been given more resource personnel from less than 10 people to 21 and this number might grow further to ensure best extension services are provided in collaboration with the government.
KSC Managing Director, Guy Williams, however, emphasized that at this point the sugar company is still in the process of conducting a detailed feasibility study around an expansion project which includes doing research in the Kilombero valley to find out if there is a possibility of acquiring more cane from the farmers.
He urged all farmers to be patient and wait for the final results before planting cane.
On his part, the Morogoro RC Dr Kebwe commended KSC, saying their intent to expand shows that they are supporting the government efforts to expand local sugar production in order to minimize illegal importation of sugar.
“Since the government owns 25 per cent share of the sugar company, it will thus be part of the expansion initiative work with responsible institutions throughout the process,” said Dr Kebwe.