Shortage of seedlings hampers sugar production

MOROGORO: THE Tanzania Society of Sugar and Cane Technologists (TSSCT) has cited inadequate sugarcane seedlings as among the factors for the low production of sugar in the country.

TSSCT Executive Secretary, Fredrick Charles said that the challenge forces the industrialists to import some 90 per cent of the seedlings from countries such as Mauritius, Malawi and South Africa.

“Another challenge is the lack of modern machines in local industries,” Mr Charles said during the 10th forum of experts from the sugar sector over the weekend.

The government plans to elevate sugar production from an average of 460,048 tonnes recorded in 2022/2023 to 706,000 tonnes by the conclusion of the 2025/2026 fiscal year, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in Parliament last month.

The Premier said sugar demand for 2023/24 stands at approximately 807,000 tonnes where 552,000 are earmarked for domestic consumption and the remaining 255,000 for industrial use.

Sugar production has for a while been concentrated in five operational factories namely Kilombero Sugar Company, Tanganyika Planting Company (TPC), Kagera Sugar, Mtibwa Sugar Estates and Bagamoyo Sugar Factory.

He called upon sugar stakeholders to see a huge opportunity in investing in modern equipment for sugar production to up its availability.

Representative of the Sugar Board Tanzania (SBT), Mr George Gowelle, said the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) has done trials for the newly produced seedlings and the results are promising.

Additionally, another project for producing sugarcane seedlings will be introduced in Kilombero District, Morogoro Region, covering a 400-hectare size block farm. Other seedling block farms would be established at the Mtibwa Sugar factory for small-scale farmers and the other one in the Manyara Region.

Morogoro Regional Commissioner Adam Malima told experts earlier when opening the forum that they should focus on research to address the shortage.

“Do research and submit them to the relevant authorities to work on them in finding solutions to the challenges,” he said.

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