Tanzania: Relief As First Batch of Sugar Consignment Arrives

DAR ES SALAAM: THE first batch of sugar consignment entered into the country yesterday, to cushion the demand and lower the prices of the commodity that is hitting the ceil.

The batch being offloaded at the Dar es Salaam Port on board mega JPO Aquarius ship, is part of the 100,000 tonnes that the government approved to sugar producers, to import following acute shortage of the commodity due to what has been described as heavy rains in November and December last year that curtailed local production.

Speaking to journalists while unloading the cargo at the port, the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Mr George Gowele said the imported sugar will start flooding the market today after completing all port procedures.

“We are grateful to the TPA (Tanzania Ports Authority) for giving us priority and fast-tracking offloading of the cargo. The containers arrived today (yesterday) and we have finished unloading now, another procedures will follow at the relevant authorities including Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), so that sugar can be distributed tomorrow (today),” said Mr Gowele.

However, he refused to reveal the number of tonnes that arrived in the first batch when ‘Daily News’ sought to know the exact amount and whether it was suffice to quench the current demand.

He said that it is a continuous exercise, insisting that tomorrow or the following day another consignment will arrive, where by early March, the last batch will be brought to complete the 100,000 tonnes that were approved by the government.

Last week, Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe assured Tanzanians that mid-February this year, the challenge of accessing sugar in the country will decrease, while stressing that the indicative price of sugar should be observed. He warned traders who increase the price, saying already some of them have been arrested.

According to him, the indicative sugar prices remain between 2,800/- to 3,500/- depending on the geographical location.

However, the sugar prices in most retail shops have recently surged above the indicative prices fluctuating between 3,800/- and 4,300/- per kilo.

Last week, the SBT Director of Regulatory Services, Mr Lusomyo Buzingo said that the production of sugar was interrupted by heavy rains the country experienced last November but the manufacturers have since resumed production.

The producers halted production after failing to access their shambas for sugarcane following the torrential rains that damaged infrastructures.

All sugar factories stopped production due to heavy rains, though Kilombero and Kagera continued with production, since they were partially affected.

The government gave the sugar import approval to Mtibwa Sugar, Kilombero Sugar/Illovo, Bagamoyo Sugar, TPC Limited and Kagera Sugar.

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