For years, Tanzania has grappled with a looming sugar shortage, but the Sixth Phase Government, led by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, is determined to turn the tide with innovative strategies aimed at ensuring sugar availability for all Tanzanians.
According to statistics released by the Sugar Board of Tanzania, in the 2022/23 fiscal year, the nation’s sugar demand surged to a staggering 721,000 tons. This included 481,000 tons of brown sugar for household consumption and 240,000 tons for industrial purposes. Notably, sugar production for household consumption in the same fiscal year reached 458,799 tons of brown sugar. However, industrial sugar production had yet to take root within the country.
Enter the Mkulazi Sugar Factory, a new venture set to revolutionize the sugar industry. Scheduled to kickstart industrial sugar production in the 2023/2024 financial year, this development is a pivotal step toward alleviating the industrial sugar shortfall in the nation.
One of the government’s ingenious strategies to spur investment in new sugar factories was realized through a collaborative effort between the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the Prison Corporation Service (SHIMA). Together, they embarked on the ambitious journey of establishing a cutting-edge sugar factory.
To ensure the triumph of this venture, the Mkulazi Holding Company was established on September 6, 2016, with the primary goal of sugar production. The company operates as a partnership, with NSSF holding a dominant 96% stake, and the Prison Corporation Service (PCS) owning the remaining 4%.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Selestine Some, the CEO of Mkulazi Holding Company, disclosed that the company’s groundbreaking sugar factory is situated in the lush Mbigiri Estate, nestled within the Kilosa District of Morogoro Region. With an annual target of 50,000 tons of sugar production, this factory represents a significant leap forward.
Mr. Some further emphasized that beyond cultivating the Mbigiri Sugar Plantation, the project has seen the enrollment of 243 sugarcane farmers from the neighboring regions. These dedicated farmers have already tilled more than 800 hectares of sugarcane, igniting hope for a flourishing future.
Moreover, Mkulazi Holding Company has been proactive in investing in irrigation infrastructure, which includes the creation of expansive reservoirs. These reservoirs serve the vital purpose of storing rainwater during the wet season, ensuring a stable water supply for irrigation during dry spells.
On another note, Mr. Some proudly shared that construction of the Mbigiri sugar factory commenced on July 9, 2021.
“This state-of-the-art facility has the capacity to churn out a remarkable 50,000 tons of industrial ‘refined sugar’ and brown sugar annually. The factory is also set to generate a substantial 15 megawatts of electricity, with 8 megawatts allocated for internal consumption within the factory, on the plantation, and in administrative offices. The remaining 7 megawatts are destined for sale to TANESCO and integration into the national power grid,” exclaimed Mr. Some.
Upon completion, the factory is projected to slash industrial sugar imports by 20%, significantly curbing foreign exchange expenditure on sugar imports.
Expanding on the socio-economic front, Mr. Some revealed that, as of August 2023, the factory has provided over 1,300 direct job opportunities, with an estimated 4,600 indirect employment positions rippling out from the project.
“Upon full operationalization, the factory is expected to directly employ more than 2,315 workers, while indirectly creating opportunities for over 9,000 Tanzanians. This colossal venture will translate into a grand total of 11,315 employment opportunities,” Mr. Some elaborated.
Mr. Some also extended heartfelt gratitude to the Sixth Phase Government, under President Samia Suluhu Hassani’s leadership, for not only allocating funds but also spearheading the construction of a 50-kilometer road connecting the sugarcane fields of external farmers.
“This road will facilitate the seamless transportation of sugarcane from the farmers’ fields to the sugar factory. Additionally, it will unlock vast economic prospects in the neighboring villages of Mbigiri, Msowero, Mabana, and Mambegwa,” Mr. Some added.
Beyond the substantial economic gains anticipated from the sugar factory’s construction, the Mkulazi Company has undertaken a commendable initiative by establishing a state-of-the-art medical clinic. This clinic extends healthcare services to both factory employees and the local residents in the vicinity, exemplifying the company’s commitment to community welfare.
The inauguration of the Mkulazi Sugar Factory signifies a turning point in Tanzania’s sugar industry, promising not only economic growth but also improved living standards for the surrounding communities.