Sugar ranks amongst the most imported products in Tanzania. In 2020, raw sugar was the 14th most imported product in Tanzania, and the country became the 53th largest importer of raw sugar in the world.
According to UN Food Prices Index, Food prices have been at their highest since records began 60 years ago, according to the index, which jumped nearly 13%. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spread shock to foods, including sugar which rose by 7%, grains and vegetable oils.
Tanzania has struggled with sugar shortages due to its insufficient local production. Tanzania produces about 320,000 tons of sugar and consumes 420,000 tons, requiring it to import 100,000 tons.
Like sugar, edible oil in Tanzania is another crisis that Tanzania has been struggling with. Tanzania only has 205,000 tonnes of cooking oil a year, which is not enough to meet its annual demand of 570,000 tonnes.
The country is then compelled to spend over U.S.$191,000 billion annually to import 365,000 tonnes of edible oil to cover the shortage.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sugar remains the looming problem in Tanzania. UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation warned that food prices, including sugar, could rise by up to 20% as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.
With an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine that no one is certain could end anytime, food prices are expected to remain high for some time.
Tanzania’s President, Her Excellency Samia Suluhu, has unveiled plans to curb Tanzania’s edible oil and sugar crisis in the future.
What is the plan?
The government has unveiled its Plantation Agriculture Policy intends to allocate a whooping Sh. 20 billion in funds toward ensuring sustainable availability of sugar and cooking oil.
Plantation Agriculture is a type of farming for profit maximization and involves, and involve large pieces of land commonly used to grow widely used to grow cash crops such as sugarcane, coffee, tea, sisal and tobacco.
“Sugar and other commodities like cooking oil have been a concern for quite a long time, and we usually end up importing them,” – said President Samia during her visit to the Kagera Sugar factory yesterday as part of her official tour of the Lake Zone.
In May 2022, Dr Ashatu Kijaji, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, highlighted President Samia’s grand plan saying that the sugar shortage in Tanzania will be history going 2025 as the government had developed an ambitious sugar production plans.
Thanks to the current government’s investment drives and economic reform strategies that targetting to empower local small, medium and major sugar companies to fill the deficit gaps.
President Samia’s plan to curb the edible oil crisis, big sunflowers and palm plantations are set to be established in different parts of the country as the President has directed regional commissioners and district officials to survey and identify idle plantations that will be used for the lucrative project.
“We are crying about rising cooking oil prices, go and identify these areas… In Kagera, we need not less than 70,000 and 100,000 hectares,”.
Understanding youth’s role in economic growth, President Samia has directed youth into projects to encourage them and boost the economy.