Sugar production up by 20 per cent

Thursday June 23 2011

By Isaac Khisa


Uganda is on course to achieve sugar production of 350,000 metric tonnes in 2011, compared with 292,000 tonnes realised last year.

This follows an improved performance in the first four months of the year, according to the Uganda Sugar Cane Technologists Association. It is, however, unclear whether the increase in production will exert downward pressure on sugar prices in light of the high costs of production that have been brought about by high inflation and high fuel prices.

USCTA said the January-April production increased by 20 per cent to 123,935 tonnes, aided by expansions at the three main sugar production facilities. The recent growth signals the industry’s expansion that will see the country become self-reliant.

Mr Wilberforce Mubiru, the USCTA secretariat manager, was recently quoted by Bloomberg as saying that sugar production targets for 2011, had been achieved. Kakira Sugar Works, Kinyara Sugar Works and Sugar Corporation of Uganda have all been implementing plant and farmland expansions in the past three years. “All the three main sugar producers are expanding their production capacities and likewise the area under cane is expanding mainly by the out growers,” Mr Mubiru said.

USCTA data show Kinyara is expected to post the highest increase in production in 2011, with output of at least 126,000 tonnes, representing a 40 per cent rise from the 90,000 tonnes produced last year, due to increased capacity at its mill and farmlands.

Joint venture
The plant is a joint venture between the government and Kenya-based Rai Group. Output at Kakira is projected to hit 170,000 tonnes while Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited is forecast to produce 54,000 tonnes.

Last year, Uganda imported about 40,000 tonnes of sugar to bridge a production shortfall. In 2010, Uganda’s sugar output increased by 3.4 per cent, but fell short of an earlier forecast of 313,000 tonnes on lower-than-expected output at Kakira and Uganda Sugar Corporation following a cane shortage.