Tanzania has imported 25,000 tonnes of sugar to offset an acute shortage of the commodity being experienced throughout the country, a cabinet minister told parliament on Tuesday.
“About 4,000 tonnes of the imported sugar have already arrived in the Dar es Salaam,” Japhet Hasunga, the Minister for Agriculture, told the House in the capital Dodoma.
He said another 21,000 tonnes of imported sugar will arrive in the country at the end of this month.
Tabling his ministry’s budget proposals for the 2020-2021 financial year, Hasunga said the delay in delivery of the imports had been caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 that forced vessels to cancel their shipment plans.
On April 24, the government announced indicative prices of the commodity after prices had gone up for the past one month.
The rise in sugar prices was allegedly attributed to traders who had hoarded the commodity in warehouses to create an artificial shortage.
On April 23, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa ordered district and regional commissioners to make sure that they conducted routine checks in markets and ensure that no one hiked prices of the commodity.
Hasunga said Tanzania’s sugar demand stood at 470,000 tonnes a year, while the country’s five sugar processing factories had the capacity of producing 378,000 tonnes in 2019.
He said the capacity could not be reached due to a number of factors, including breakdowns at some processing lines as well as heavy and prolonged rains which diluted sugarcane sucrose levels. Enditem