Kilombero Sugar ends season with record-breaking cane crush record

14Apr 2021
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Kilombero Sugar ends season with record-breaking cane crush record

AS sugar factories across the country go on hiatus for the mandatory annual maintenance, Kilombero Sugar Company Limited (KSCL) has concluded the 2020/2021 season with an outstanding record by crushing a total of 1,409,995 tonnes of cane.

The amount is about 290,000 tonnes more compared to the previous season. Out of crushed cane, 48 percent was sourced from small-scale cane growers within the Kilombero valley.

By contrast, the company crushed 1,120,059 tonnes of cane in the 2019/2020 season.

Last season's performance was affected by heavy rains that started in October 2019 causing floods in the cane fields, the company's low level bridge and poor infrastructure which hindered supply of cane to the factories.

During the 2020/2021 season which just concluded, KSCL—the country’s largest sugar producer, produced a total of 123,167.5398 tonnes of sugar, which was close to the original target of sugar production for the season which was 127,871 tons.

“This is the first time our factories were able to crush that huge amount of cane in one season. The last time that we came closer to this figure was in 2014 where we crushed 1,356,549 tonnes,” said Joseph Rugaimukamu, KSCL Head of Corporate Affairs.

Rugaimukamu attributed the success of the record-breaking cane crush to the dry season and delayed season closure.

He further explained that, despite having crushed more cane than ever, the quantity of sugar produced doesn’t correspond with the amount of cane crushed due to low quality and low sucrose content from most of the cane that was carried over from the previous season.

“Although we haven’t reached our target for sugar production this season, we are pleased that we were able to crush even more cane from out growers and reduce carry over cane for next season. This will put us in a better position to begin the season with quality cane, and hopefully more sugar,” he added.

For next season, which is expected to commence in May this year, the sugar Company is projecting to produce 125,096 tonnes of sugar.

Meanwhile, KSCL Management is working hard to finalize acquisition of approvals from shareholders to implement the much-anticipated expansion project of the sugar factory.

Upon expansion, KSCL will have capacity to more than double both its sugar production and cane crushing capacity, and ultimately cater to the national sugar gap.

During his visit at KSCL in February this year, Minister for Agriculture Prof Adolf Mkenda said the country is importing 40,000 metric tonnes of sugar from outside.

He said from next year the government has no plan to issue import permits instead it will work out the challenges including attracting more small, and medium factories that can produce between five to ten metric tonnes of sugar to bridge the sugar gap but also create competition for the traditional factories that want to monopolize sugarcanes markets.

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