Speaking at the annual sugar industry stakeholder’s forum recently, SBT Director, General Henry Semwanza said the board’s core objective in the plan is to promote development of sugar production projects in the country.
“The sugar industry development plan therefore responds to the challenges, provides a framework for setting goals, defines key actions to be taken, unites industry stakeholders, puts in place mechanisms for enhanced performance of sugar cane cultivation, sugar mills operations, outgrowing farming and sugar research training,” he said.
He said the plan provides the urgent need for integrated and cross sector approaches for attracting large, medium as well as small scale investments which will deliver economic benefits derived from large economies of scale.
Semwanza further said that the plan also provides mechanisms which ensure that the sugar industry’s future viability to enhance its contribution to long term socio economic development.
The SBT DG pointed out that the strategic objectives of the plan are to rehabilitate, expand and modernize the existing estates and mills.
In a separate interview, Deo Lyatto who is chairman of the Sugar Industry Development Trust Fund (SIDTF) commended the government for the steps it has taken to control sugar importation.
Lyatto said the sugar industry is an important sector of the economy which on top of employing more than 18,000 people directly, it is also an agent to reduce poverty in the country.
Lyatto said currently the industry contributes only 1.9 percent to the total income tax and 1 percent towards gross domestic product and also accounts for 13 percent of all agriculture sector formal jobs.
“There are more than 100 countries in the world that produce sugar, but all get protection from their governments. I fail to understand why some quarters in the country are complaining when the government protects the local industry which employs a lot of people,” he said.
“It has also created substantial indirect jobs in the form of people engaged in the provision of inputs and services, transport and social services, the industry has the potential to employ many people and also contributes a lot to national economic development, the government has to protect it at all costs,” Lyattu stressed.