The recent heavy rains and subsquent floods have destroyed 64.7 percent of Kabuye sugar estate in Nyabugogo swamp, causing a shortage in sugarrcane supply to Rwanda’s sole sugar manufacurer.
The destruction of the 1,100 hectares has also prompted worries of a possible drop in national sugar output. Kabuye Sugar Works Sarl—a subsidiary of Madhvani Group has 1700 hectares of sugarcane in the Nyabugogo swamp.
“The factory is now working for only six to eight hours a day due to inadequate sugarcane production. Waters are overflowing into the sugarcane fields,” Rao Mahakali, the Director General of Kabuye Sugar Works said.
A survey done by a company expert reveals that the company operations will suffer serious setback.
Mahakali said that about 75,000 tonnes of cane perished, adding that sugar production will fall by around 4,500 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes frpm the usual 14,000 tonnes. The impact is also expected to be felt throughout the next two years.
Management said it has put plans to expand its production plant on halt citing the anticipated fall in sugarcane supply.
The factory has the capacity to produce 20,000 tonnes of sugar annually but only manages 14,000 tonnes due the inadequate sugarcane production that is attributable to limited land.
Mahakali told Business Times that they have to set up long term plans to cater for the growing demand of sugar.
He added that Nyabugogo river has to be tamed in order to minimise the rate of floods.
Rwanda’s domestic market requires about 22,000 tonnes of sugar every year yet the total production of Kabuye Sugar Works is projected at 14,000 tonnes.
The damage on the cane plantation means that Kabuye Sugar Works may resort to heavy sugar imports to bridge the deficit.