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 outgrowers’ schemes.
Factors that favored location of the scheme
- Presence of rivers such as Kilombero and Ruaha that provides constant supply of water for irrigating sugarcane.
- The gently sloping land which favors use of machines for large scale farming e.g. ploughs and tractors.
- The flat nature of the area which favors irrigation by use of gravity flow of water.
- Extensive land due to sparse population also provided enough land for the large scale irrigation scheme.
- Availability of deep and well drained fertile alluvial soils deposited by R. Kilombero for the growing of sugarcane.
- Hot temperatures of about 230C and above which favor the growth, ripening and harvesting of sugarcane.
- The rainfall is unreliable hence leading to the use of irrigation to supplement the rainfall.
- Presence of ready market for the sugar which is both local and international e.g. Zambia.
- Supportive government policy to open up remote areas in southern Tanzania also led to the setting up of the scheme.
- Opening up of the Tanzam-Tazara railway in 1975, also increased accessibility to the area hence providing cheap transport.
- Availability of adequate capital from Kilombero Company for investment e.g. Buying machines, land and paying workers.
- Availability of abundant and cheap labour to work on the scheme e.g. from the surrounding communities.
The river Senegal forms the boundary between Mauritania and Senegal, which are west African countries bordering the Atlantic coast. In this area, annual rainfall is about 400 mm or less.
However, most of the northern areas are in a desert.
Therefore, because of the river, there was a need to establish irrigation schemes to increase food production.
The major schemes are the Richard toll scheme and the delta scheme. The major crops grown are maize, tomatoes, sorghum, sweet potatoes, sugar canes, millet, rice, cucumbers, and beans.
The following are conditions favouring irrigation farming in Senegal:
- The area is semi-arid and it receives low and unreliable rainfall necessitating irrigation farming
- supportive government policy towards irrigation farming by giving tax reductions and encouraging farm research.
- Presence of modern transport network by railway, road, air, for easy marketing and distribution of crops to market centres.
- Large sums of capital to invest in irrigation farming such as purchasing farm machinery, chemicals, and fertilizers
- The presence of a large market for farm produce within the urban centers of Senegal and other countries like the Gambia, Mauritania among others
- Modern technology employed on farms such as the use of tractors for farming and construction of canals
- a large supply of skilled labour to work on the irrigation farms such as drivers, harvesters, and managers
- Availability of large sums of capital provided by the government to construct canals, pumping stations, and crop farms.
- The presence of fertile alluvial and silt soils deposited in the area due to annual flooding to support the growth of crops.
- The constant supply of water for irrigation from river Senegal and its tributaries like doue and taoue
- Low incidence of pests and diseases due to hot temperatures which supports the growth of crops.