KILOMBERO Sugar Company has pledged to work closely with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute – Kibaha (TARI) to ensure sustainable development of Kilombero sugar cane growers.
The sugar company is one of TARI’s biggest stakeholders due to valuable researches on sugar cane farming done by the Institute of which cane farmers along the Kilombero valley has benefited.
Head of Growers Department for Kilombero Sugar Company, Hans Veenstra made the remarks over the weekend when sugar stakeholders were celebrating Sugar Cane Farmers’ Day at TARI grounds in Kibaha.
“We are grateful for TARI – Kibaha for all the research work they do, Kilombero cane growers who are quite significant to our business will continue to learn a great deal about cane farming from various research findings by this Institute,” he said.
He added, “we will continue to support TARI – Kibaha in its initiatives towards cane farming research, we believe that, with sustainable cane farming, the sugar industry will reach new heights.”
He added that, to further cement their commitment to Kilombero cane growers practice sustainable cane farming, the Kilombero Sugar has recruited a total of 24 extension officers who avail themselves to guide and assist the farmers.
Addressing sugar stakeholders, Kibaha District Commissioner, Assumpta Mshama said TARI Kibaha, being one of 17 TARI stations across the country, was given responsibility to oversee sugar cane researches at a national level.
She commended TARIKibaha for organizing cane farmers’ day, saying it gives cane farmers and stakeholders’ opportunity to review challenges facing the industry.
She said the government will work hand in hand with sugar cane stakeholders to ensure that the country attains middle income economy status through industrialization by 2025.
Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT), Senior Development and Planning Officer, Grace Kabate, said the cane farmers’ day is essential for the sector to promote sustainable cane farming.
“We recently had a meeting with sugar producers and they have all expressed interest to expand their factories, therefore with sustainable cane farming, we believe we can reduce the sugar gap in the next three or four years to come and eventually produce enough for surplus, “ she said.
She added that as part of its initiatives to support cane farmers, SBT has created a data base of more than 6,000 cane farmers across the country so that they can keep track of their production capacity, challenges facing them and how to assist them.
From the registered number of sugar cane growers by SBT, more than 5,000 farmers of them are Kilombero Sugar growers.