In order to fill the gap and check the escalating prices, KSW is now importing sugar from a regional sister company
Shortage of about 140,000 tonnes of sugarcane annually has forced. Kabuye Sugar Works (KSW), the country’s only sugar producing factory to cut down on its production line.
The factory’s management says that they have reduced sugar production from 14,000 tonnes to 12,000 tonnes per year, representing a 10 percent decrease.
Mahakali Rao, the KSW Managing Director attributed the reduction to lack of enough sugarcanes to supplement sugar production.
“We don’t have enough land to cultivate more sugarcane,” he said.
“Even half of the land along Nyabarongo, government allocated to us is swampy making the canes rot before maturity,” Rao added.
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 minimize production costs.
“We switch off machines when we don’t have canes,” he said.
Currently, the factory owned by the Madhvani Group largely depends on supplies from out-growers cultivating on over 2,200 hectares, which administrative officials say it leaves the factory’s future operation uncertain.
In order to fill the gap and check the escalating prices, Rao said that the company imports sugar from Kakira Sugar Works, a sister company of Madhivani Group based in Uganda.
“We have so far imported 2,000 tonnes of sugar,” he explained.
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.
Its current production of 12,000 tonnes meets only 52 percent the national sugar demand. The deficit is largely covered by imports from Zambia, Malawi and Kenya. Despite the reduction, management still hopes to increase production once land is available.
Management plans an increase from 12,000 tonnes to 15,000 tonnes. As a result, management also plans to generate its own power from bagasse (remains after cane crushing) in a project expected to cost about $2 million.
The factory employs about 4,000 employees, 5,000 farm labourers and over 1000 out-growers.