Tanzania has a history of sugar cane production dating back more than 75 years. There is now a prioritized national policy to attract direct foreign investment into modern and industrial scale agriculture. This is set out in the Southern Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), Big Results Now (BRN) and National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (“NSGRP”).
As part of Tanzania’s current drive to develop the agriculture sector, The “Kilimo Kwanza” initiative (Agriculture First) aims to accelerate agricultural transformation. This is intended to be done by taking advantage of large land reserves, good access to water, favourable climate and an underutilised workforce to modernize and commercialize agriculture in Tanzania.
In 2013, the Tanzanian government launched the Big Result Now initiative for the purpose of accomplishing the vision of becoming a middle-income economy by 2025. For the Tanzanian National Development Vision to be effectively delivered, the Big Result Now initiative aims to facilitate a clear implementation of various projects in the country. Sugarcane and rice are amongst the priority crops identified for increased commercial farming, smallholder aggregation, social inclusion and sustainability.
Tanzania aims to attract 10 new Greenfield sugar projects during the next 15 years with the purpose of emulating what many other countries such as Mozambique have done in the sugar sector. This involves developing the rural economy through transforming itself from being a major net importer of sugar to become a net exporter. However, the challenge is huge, as Tanzania is already importing over 300,000 tonnes of sugar annually or approximately 50% of sugar consumed. Furthermore, the consumption is anticipated to more than double within the next 15 years due to rapid population growth and increased consumption per capita.
In line with the desired outcome above, it is necessary to create a conducive environment for domestic production in Tanzania. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives and the Sugar Board of Tanzania published a report on an Improved Sugar importation System, followed by a press release by the government.
The Agro EcoEnergy sugar project in Bagamoyo will hopefully serve as a local showcase for utilizing market opportunities to develop a modern agricultural structure. This will be done using advanced irrigation, fertilization and modern machinery. Furthermore, a corner stone in the initiative for inclusive growth is the transformation of local subsistence farmers into successful commercial farmers through the outgrowers program. The experience from Brazil and India has shown that outgrower farmers are also capable of increasing yields of other food crops such as rice, maize and horticulture along with growing sugar cane.
BRN objectives aim to address food insecurity, productive agriculture, smallholder farmer development and social inclusion for sustainable livelihood development in the rural Tanzania. Agro EcoEnergy is committed to assist in filling the sugar import gap and participate in the development of a modern and sustainable sugar industry in Tanzania. Agro EcoEnergy is working closely with the government, the Bagamoyo District, villages and other stakeholders to break the ground for domestic sugar production with a focus to generate inclusive growth. This will eventually contribute to increased wealth, rural development and sustainable livelihoods in the local communities surrounding the project.