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- The scheme started in 1960 and it became a government parastatal called Sugar Development co-operation in 1968.
- Today, it employs over 46,000 workers and it contributes 40% of the total sugar production in Tanzania.
- It has mainly encouraged the development of out growers’ schemes.
Problems facing the farmers on the kilombero valley irrigation scheme
- Diseases e.g. yellow wilt that destroys the sugarcane leading to reduced output.
- Soil exhaustion due to monoculture leading to low output hence low export potential.
- Leaching of soil due to the excessive water which leads to poor soils hence low productivity.
- Pests e.g. snails which destroy the sugarcane hence leading to poor quality output.
- Price fluctuation due to over production and competition with other sugar producing countries e.g. Uganda leading to low morale of farmers.
- Shortage of labour especially during the harvesting period due to low population in the area.
- Fire out breaks which destroy large parts of the farms leading to losses for the scheme.
- Dangerous animals like snakes which scare away the farmers leading to labour shortage.
- Presence of weeds which compete with sugarcane for water and soil nutrients leading to poor quality output.
- Silting of the canals by floods which calls for regular dredging yet its very expensive.
- It requires high capital investment to operate the scheme yet capital is not readily available.
- Salinity of the soils due to excessive evaporation as a result of hot temperatures in the area.
- Inefficient transport within the scheme which makes the delivery of sugar to the markets very difficult.
- Natural hazards e.g. hailstorms and strong winds also destroy large parts of the scheme leading to losses.
Steps being taken to solve the problems
- Spraying of crops by using pesticides to avoid pests and diseases.
- Price control by government and production by quota system to avoid price fluctuation at the world market.
- Research on better sugarcane varieties to increase production and quality.
- Applying fertilizers and manure to increase soil fertility and ensure high productivity.
- Use of herbicides to control weeds and reduce competition for soil nutrients.
- Controlling fire outbreaks by living bare land between plots (patching) to stop fire from spreading.
- Diversification of agriculture to reduce over reliance on sugarcane growing e.g. introduction of ranching.
- Encouraging mechanization to solve the problem of labour shortage especially during harvesting.
- Acquiring loans from banks to provide large capital base for farm operations.
- De-silting and dredging of canals to control floods and ensure proper flow of water.
- Construction of feeder roads and railways within the scheme to improve accessibility to markets.