BRITISH High Commissioner to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke has commended Kilombero Sugar Company for its anticipated project to expand the sugar factory in efforts to crush more sugar cane, produce sufficient sugar for the country and more income for sugarcane farmers.
Cooke made the remarks during her official visit to the sugar factory, in Kilombero, Morogoro Region to see operations and progress of the factory expansion feasibility study.
After her arrival, the envoy was taken through the operations process and its production capacity where she was impressed by the good relationship between the company and cane farmers and employing agricultural extension officers to assist the farmers to practice sustainable cane farming that would go hand in hand with the expansion of the factory.
She said the UK government is eager to see that investment at the factory stays intact to further build our relationship, the UK government has participated in two projects in Kilombero District including the construction of a 67 kilometer road to Ifakara District, as well as the process of certification of customary rights of occupants (CCRO) concerning land ownership.
She noted that investments done to date at the sugar company, which its part owners are British investors, has already benefited Tanzanian citizens.
The envoy said Kilombero Sugar’s intent to expand which will double its current sugar production, is in support of Tanzania’s government initiatives to achieve a middle-income economy.
On his part, Managing Director for Kilombero Sugar Company, Guy Williams said the expansion project study is at an advanced stage and they are expecting to sign a contract with a constructor after the two shareholders, which is the government and the parent company of Kilombero Sugar Company, reach an agreement to proceed with the project.
The total estimated investment in such project which will include expanding the sugar factory, new investment by surrounding small scale farmers in expanding their cane growing and related infrastructure will amount to around 300 million US dollars.
Williams further assured Kilombero cane farmers that if the project is approved by both the government and Illovo Sugar Africa on time, the expansion of the factory will have been completed and start operations by June 2022.
This will go hand in hand with President John Magufuli’s intention of having the country produce enough sugar for its own consumption requirements.
During the visits, the Kilombero cane farmers spoke of challenges they are facing including poor road infrastructure heading to the farms.
However they expressed their gratitude to Kilombero Sugar Company for increasing the number of agricultural extension officers who are educating them to practice sustainable cane farming.