In a strategic move to address the recent sugar production shortfalls, Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture, Hussein M. Bashe, has announced the temporary allowance for the importation of sugar. This decision comes as a response to the unexpected decline in domestic sugar production, primarily due to heavy rainfall disrupting sugar cane harvesting.
Over the past four years, Tanzania’s sugar production and demand dynamics have shown significant fluctuations. From 2020/2021 to 2021/2022, the country enjoyed a surplus, with production exceeding demand. However, the 2022/2023 period marked a turn, as production fell short of demand by 30,000 tons. This deficit is attributed to adverse weather conditions that affected sugar cane harvests.
For 2023/2024, projections indicated a slight surplus in production over demand. However, the government is not taking any chances. To mitigate the impact of this production dip and stabilize the market, the Ministry has authorized the import of 50,000 tons of sugar for the current and following month. This interim solution aims to alleviate the supply shortage and counteract the price hikes observed in some regions.
Minister Bashe emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting the sugar sector. Acknowledging the challenges faced, he assured that these measures are temporary and aimed at restoring market stability within 30-60 days. He recognized the efforts of farmers and factories in striving towards self-sufficiency in sugar production and reiterated the government’s ongoing support.
The decision to allow sugar imports reflects the government’s proactive approach to ensuring stable supply and prices in the face of production uncertainties. With domestic demand ranging between 460,000 to 550,000 tons, including buffer stock, the temporary importation is seen as a crucial step in maintaining market equilibrium and safeguarding the interests of consumers and producers alike.