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March 31, 2010

Tanzanian sugar factory output up by 23 per cent

by Beldina Nyakeke

The Tanganyika Planting Company (TPC) raised sugar production to 78,000 tonnes in the 2008/09 season from 60,000 tonnes in 2007/08. It produced 49,650 tonnes in 200/01, says chief executive officer Robert Baissac.

The factory aims at increasing output to 80,000 tonnes a season. “After expanding the factory and plantations we are excepting to produce between 80,000 and 85,000 tonnes of sugar a year,” he says.

“The company has good infrastructure as well as sound relations between management and workers to enable it to achieve the goal,” he says.

Sh83 billion was invested between 2000 and 2004. Further investments were made in rehabilitating infrastructure and refurbishing staff quarters.
TPC also provides nursery education, food and educational materials. It also pays fees for workers’ children who learn vocational training.
However, poor rainfall is forcing the company to irrigate 7,800 hectares.

“Cane cultivation is difficult in new plantations due to water shortages and large quantities of sodium in the soil,” he laments. Such factors deter small-scale farmers from growing sugarcane.

TPC Limited, which was established 79 years ago, was registered in Denmark as A/S Tanganyika Planting Company Limited.
It started production in 1936 with the capacity of 4,000 tonnes of sugar.

In June 1973, it was registered in Tanzania as TPC Ltd which was owned by Danish A.P. Moller. In 1980 the government took it over. But as the economy was being reform, it was privatised to Sukari Investment Company Ltd (SIL) — a Mauritius-registered firm — which bought 75 per cent of shares in 2000.

SIL is owned by Deep River Beau Champ of Mauritius which own 60 per cent and Sucriere de la Reunion GQF of Reunion, which own 40 per cent.

By August 2009 TPC had 3,190 workers — 2,024 of them full-timers and the remaining temporary workers.

Meanwhile, 279,851 tonnes of sugar are produced a year in Tanzania.

However, Tanzania Sugar Board (TSB) director-general Mathew Kombe says as factories are being expanded output will reach 290,000 tonnes in 2009/10.

The country’s four major sugar factories in Moshi, Mtibwa, Kagera and Kilombero have a combined capacity of 400,000 tonnes annually while smaller plants can produce up to 2,000 tonnes. No reason has been given for companies’ production below capacity.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing says sugarcane is grown on about 40,000 hectares.

The industry employs over 40,000 people directly.

TSB is surveying land for cultivating sugarcane on 8,000 more hectares, set up a factory and encourage outgrowers to plant the crop on 8,000 hectares.

The Citizen

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