According to findings of the feasibility study which was conducted in line with the expansion project, cane growers from the Kilombero valley will play a big role as they are expected to supply 60 percent of the sugarcane needed by the factory should the expansion project come to light.
Currently, Kilombero sugarcane growers supply 40 percent of the cane crushed by the sugar factory.
Addressing stakeholders at a meeting which was held at Kilombero Sugar factory on Wednesday, the Company’s General Manager for Corporate Affairs, Joseph Rugaimukamu said that KSC is committed to work closely with all the stakeholders especially the government to support the growers to ensure that they have the means necessary to increase cane production and benefit from the factory’s expansion project.
“We cannot underestimate the contribution of Kilombero cane growers in this endeavor. We are committed to support sugarcane growers to reach this goal in various ways which will be communicated at a later stage”, said Rugaimukamu.
He added that, to start with, KSC has financed the aerial and topographical mapping of the area, infrastructure requirements survey, soil survey and will provide land for the initial clean seed nursery establishment.
Rugaimukamu said that KSC has also procured a Hot Water Treatment Plant (HWTP) for that purpose.
He said the KSC cane grower department has been given more resource personnel from less than 10 people to 21 and this number might grow further to ensure best extension services are provided in collaboration with the government, the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) and Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI- Kibaha).
KSC Managing Director, Guy Williams emphasized that the sugar company is still in the process of conducting a detailed feasibility study concerning the expansion project.
William noted that the detailed feasibility study includes doing research in the Kilombero valley to find out if there is a possibility of acquiring more cane from the farmers. He urged all farmers to be patient and wait for the final results before planting sugarcane.
Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Dr Steven Kebwe commended KSC intent to expand insisting by so doing they are supporting President John Magufuli with actions.
Dr Kebwe said the President has been keen to support local sugar industries by minimizing illegal importation of sugar.
“Considering that government owns 25 percent share of the sugar company, it means the government will also be a part of this endavour, and we will work with responsible institutions throughout this process”, said Dr Kebwe.
KSC held a meeting with key stakeholders to share and deliberate on findings of feasibility study conducted ahead of their intention to expand the sugar factory so as to double production and minimize the national sugar gap.
The stakeholders were from the government and non-governmental institutions. Officials from the government included Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Dr Steven Kebwe and Kilombero District Commissioner, James Ihunyo.
Also, in attendance were representatives from Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor (SAGCOT), SBT, National Environment Management Council (NEMC), TARI- Kibaha and representatives of Kilombero cane growers.
The country’s sugar production capacity is 320,000 tonnes annually according the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. The country’s sugar demand stood at 630,000 tonnes annually for domestic sugar and 145,000 tons for industrial consumption.