Tanzania sugar producers deny hoarding blamed for high prices

The Tanzania Sugar Producers Association (TSPA) refuted accusations of failing to import sugar and stockpiling it to inflate prices. They emphasized their commitment to increasing domestic production and claimed they took steps to address potential shortages.

These remarks from TSPA came after a parliamentary debate where they were accused of contributing to the high sugar prices experienced in Tanzania in January and February of this year.

At a press briefing, TSPA Chairman Ami Mpungwe explained that they had alerted authorities last year about potential production shortfalls due to forecasted El Nino rains, which would impact supplies from December onwards. They urged authorities to start import procedures early.

“There were several communications reminding the authorities, and when December arrived, the situation unfolded as we had foreseen,” Mpungwe said. He noted that import permits for sugar had not been issued until December, prompting Kilombero Sugar Company to redirect a shipment of 45,000 tonnes destined for another country back to Tanzania.

Mpungwe emphasized that claims suggesting sugar producers were allowed to import and resell sugar but failed to do so were untrue. He asserted that they have evidence to support their position. “Our main task is sugar production, but we engaged in imports to help alleviate shortages,” he stated. He added that Kilombero is primarily in the business of sugar production, not importation, and would have supported the government setting up an agency to import sugar if it had been proposed earlier.


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