Sugar producers grapple with illiquidity

Sugar manufacturers in the country are reportedly facing acute shortage of cash flows due to the flooding of over 40,000 tonnes of sugar imports that penetrated the local market illegally.
 
Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Adam Malima said in an interview yesterday that the government was aware of the presence of imported sugar in the market, with adverse impacts on local producers.
 
“There is large amount of sugar whose origin however cannot be easily traced…the presence of this sugar is affecting the whole distribution system of the produce,” Mr Malima said, hinting that there was a syndicate of business people that the government is trying to deal with.
 
“The ministry is investigating the syndicate that had created artificial shortage of sugar in the past and it’s now trying to disrupt the capacity of the local producers,” he said.
 
He said there is urgent need for the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) to convene a stakeholder meeting to deliberate on the problem and find out the reasons behind the presence of unplanned sugar supply in the market.
 
Sources say that some lending institutions have issued a complaint to Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, seeking his intervention over failure by some sugar factories to service their loans.
 
Tanzania Sugar Producers Association Executive Secretary, Amb. Fadhili Mmbaga, said the technical committee that met early this year approved the importation of only 50,000 tonnes of sugar to cover deficit for the year.
 
“Official statistics show that as of May, 2013, 38,000 tonnes of sugar were supplied but the the situation on the ground shows that additional 39,000 tonnes were offloaded in the market during the same period,” said Amb. Mmbaga.
 
Monthly consumption of sugar is 33,000 tonnes and from between January and May, 2013, 155,000 tonnes were supplied, with local producers supplying 87,000 tonnes.
Source: The Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam
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