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Tanzania hosts sugar conference

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DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA-Tanzania is hosting a two-day international sugar conference in Dar es Salaam starting this week on Monday.
The Tanzania Sugarcane Growers Association (TASGA) Chairman Dr George Mlingwa told reporters last week that over 100 delegates are expected to attend the historic gathering in Dar es Salaam .
"Tanzania expert will contribute to developments in sugar production, policies, sustainability practices, plus cane and tropical beet research," Dr Mlingwa said.
The chairman said teachers would also visit Kilombero Sugar complex and out grower farmers, in Morogoro and the Sugarcane Research Institutes in Kibaha, Coast region.  
The event brings together farmers and experts from 20 countries globally to deliberate on opportunities and challenges for beet and sugarcane farming in Africa. This is the second time such meeting is held in Africa.
The meeting, to be opened by the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives, will also highlight the successful partnership between Tanzanian sugarcane farmers and the European Union (EU) delegation.
"This is crucial support, coupled with policy change. It is making Tanzania an increasingly attractive destination for sugar sector investment," Dr Mlingwa said.
The EU and out growers partnership include road construction of 61 kilometres in sugar districts in Morogoro and Kagera; and block farming scheme assistance.
The partnership is expected to increase the out growers output yield to almost half of the total sugarcane requirement in 2016. Currently, out growers contribute one third of cane requirements, producing 800,000 metric tonnes a year.
The Head of EU Delegation to Tanzania, Ambassador Tim Clarke, who accompanied the TASGA chairman to the press conference yesterday, said the delegation has set aside 7million Euro (about 14bn/-) for helping small-scale sugar producers.
"I have seen with my own eyes the amazing results that have been achieved by sugar producers in Tanzania. This sector has brought prosperity to many small-scale sugar producers, bringing more and more farmers and their families out of poverty," Mr Clarke said.
He said the potential is still there in sugar industry and out growers expansion as the country total sugar production is 300,000 tonnes per year while consumption stands at 480,000 tonnes.
"And there is a plenty of room for export and production for ethanol to meet the new motorists demands," the head of EU said.
But he warned that a balance should be struck between human consumption and cars, because if not careful undertaken ethanol demands might cause land disputes.
"If am a government minister. I will want to see that household sugar demand is met, but an investor will maximise the opportunity," Mr Clarke said, adding, "The objective here is to balance the two for betterment of all parties concern."
Ethanol pays more than domestic sugar because it is regarded as the alternative cheap future energy for driving motor vehicle engines from expensive fossil fuel.     
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