Uganda left with a sweet taste in the mouth after Tanzania lifts the ban on sugar importation

Uganda left with a sweet taste in the mouth after Tanzania lifts the ban on sugar importation
  • On Wednesday, Tanzanian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Japhet Hasunga, told journalists that the government had lifted the sugar ban it imposed a week ago.
  • Tanzania produces about 320,000 tonnes of sugar against a national annual demand of 670,000 tonnes.
  • The minister also said that country has enough sugar stock until May, and that permits would be issued to non-sugar producing companies from June to bridge the gap.

Ugandan traders can now ‘freely’ export sugar to Tanzania after the East African nation lifted the sugar ban it imposed a week ago.

On Wednesday, Tanzanian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Japhet Hasunga, told journalists that the government was now content with the plans by local manufacturers to produce more sugar.

“We are now satisfied with the companies’ strategic plans to increase sugar production and that is why we have decided to allow them to supply and import sugar for domestic consumption,” he said.

Just a week ago, Mr Hasunga had accused the factories of importing “sugar very fast, overlooking their role of producing,” adding that a freeze on the issuance of permits would force them to concentrate on production.

We have realised that sugar companies import sugar very fast, overlooking their role of producing; this is not acceptable, we think we should release them from importing sugar,” said Mr Hasunga.

The minister also said that country has enough sugar stock until May, and that permits would be issued to non-sugar producing companies from June to bridge the gap.

“The government will issue temporary permits to import between 25,000 and 28,000 tonnes of sugar,” he said.

Tanzania produces about 320,000 tonnes of sugar against a national annual demand of 670,000 tonnes. The country has agreements to trade with countries from Comesa and the Southern African Development Community to plug its sugar supply gap.

Sugar in Tanzania comes mainly from four companies: Kilombero Sugar Company, majority owned by South Africa's Illovo Sugar, Mtibwa, Kagera, and TPC, a unit of Mauritius sugar producer Alteo.

Mkulazi Sugar, owned by two leading pension schemes in Tanzania, and Bakhresa Group's Bagamoyo factory with the capacity to produce 250,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes respectively are also expected to increase sugar output once complete.

Bakhresa's new factory is expected to start sugar production by 2021.

Last year, Tanzania banned Ugandan sugar traders from its market, on claims that the sugar was from Kenya.

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