On April 27th this year, President Yoweri Museveni met with representatives from Tanzania led by the Managing Director of Kagera Sugar Limited, Seif Ally Seif to finalise exportation of 20,000 Metric Tonnes of brown sugar to the United Republic of Tanzania by the end of May 2020.
This was shortly after the President had assented to the Sugar Act, 2020 into law. However, with the surging number of COVID 19 cases especially in the United Republic of Tanzania and the rising cases of cross border truck drivers testing positive for COVID 19, puts a question on how the 20,000 Metric Tonnes of surplus brown sugar will safely be exported without risking Ugandan Truck Drivers who may cross into Tanzania.
“Everything here can grow easily except that we have been lagging behind because of the politics of identity and primitive farming methods based on a subsistence way of life. With some sensitization now, Ugandans are waking up and so we are able to have a surplus,” the President said while flagging off the first consignment, which has opened up market opportunities for the Ugandan sugar millers who have surplus production late last April.
However, Uganda’s Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde said the sugar export is a relief for the Ugandan millers who have been trying to penetrate the Tanzanian market for a long time adding that Port Bell to Mwanza will be the transportation medium as it is safer and cheaper. She said subsequent exports will be made in due course.
This subsequently kicks out the fears and dangers of the further spread of Covid 19 by Truck Drivers who will in the near future start on the relay driving programme.
According to Kyambadde, Uganda has a good sugar market with a surplus of 48,000 metrics tonnes, which will help Tanzania with its current sugar shortage.
“Our Sugar Industry comprises of 11 functional Sugar Mills producing 510,000 Metric Tones and consumption is 360,000 Metric Tones per annum.
“Surplus is 150,000 Metric Tonnes and sufficient for export. During CORVID -19, the prices of Sugar have remained stable at UGX 3800 to 4000/UGX per Kg. Though in the beginning there was some hoarding and panic shopping,” she said.
In the meeting, President Museveni thanked his counterpart President John Pombe Magufuli for collaborating with Uganda’s sugar industry and reiterated, that this was of the essence because it would help strengthen the East African Community.
President Museveni noted that it was because Ugandans have embraced commercial agriculture that the country was able to have a surplus.