Kabuye Sugar Works (KSW) still insists that there is need for more land if the factory is to increase its production capacity and meet the country’s sugar demands.
Jim Mwine Kabeho, the Director of Madhvani Group which owns Rwanda’s sole sugar factory said that limited land has taken a toll on the factory’s proposed increase in production.
“We are still in need of more land to increase on our sugar production. This has been our cry to the government but we are yet to here from them,” he told The Business Times.
When contacted for details, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Antoine Ruvebana said he was not aware of Kanuye’s request. Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata could not be reached for a comment.
However, the KSW management says that the factory has a capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes of sugar annually above the country’s demand of about 23,000 tonnes. However, the factory only produces about above 12,000 tonnes annually.
Mahakali Rao, the factory’s Managing Director recently said that the biggest percent of the land government allocated them is swampy therefore not switable for sugarcane growth.
“Most sugarcanes grown in this area rots before maturity,” he said.
About 3,100 hectares were leased to the factory for sugarcane growing. This has forced the company to operate in shifts depending on the availability of sugarcanes to minimise production costs.
The limited sugar production is believed to be the reason behind the recent increase in sugar prices at the local market, which KSW management attributes to the rise in sugarcane prices from Rwf13,000 to Rwf15,200 per tonne in a period of one year.
To beat the emerging deficit on the local market, Kabuye Sugar Works is importing up to 1,200 bags of sugar from their sister company, Kakira Sugar Works in Uganda. The deficit is also covered by imports from Zambia, Malawi and Kenya.
The factory owned by the Madhvani Group largely depends on supplies from out-growers cultivating on over 2,200 hectares, which administrative officials say leaves the factory’s future operation uncertain.