[Interview] Nixon Mrinji, Agric-Services Manager, Mtibwa Sugar Estate, Tanzania
Mtibwa Sugar Estate is a Tanzania-based company involved in the growing and production of sugar and related products. Cane is supplied from the company’s fields and the rest through an outgrower scheme with the neighbouring farmers. The company’s Agric-Services Manager Nixon Mrinji explains:
Briefly introduce your company company
Mtibwa Sugar Estate located at Morogoro region Tanzania is one of the fastest growing sugar Companies in Tanzania. Despite the climatic change challenges we have managed to have up to 20% production growth every season. We are looking forward to producing 150000 tons of sugar by 2025. I initially worked in Kagera Sugar company, a sister company to Mtibwa from 2014 to 2017. We however have exchange programmes between the two companies.
Is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the work-from-home trend affecting your operations? How so?
Initially it affected us, as we could not work physically. But we have now gotten back on our feet thanks in part to the support our government has offered us.
What is your company’s growth strategy for 2022? (New projects, expansion into new markets, new partnerships?
As an agriculture company we are looking for vertical and horizontal expansion. We’re developing new land, and for this season 22/23 we have 2500 ha of new land to develop and plant sugarcane. We are at the final stages of building a massive water storage dam to store 15 million cubic metres of water. This is to irrigate more than 3000Ha.
What government policies can be implemented for companies to thrive in Tanzania?
Agriculture being the backbone for Tanzania economy, the government should empower smallholder farmers with inputs like irrigation systems and readily available markets for their products.
There should also be reduction of taxes and tariffs to small and large growing companies to give them room for growth.
Government should also give allow room for privatisation to local people
Which 3 African countries do you think will perform best in terms of business in 2022? Why do you think so?
Countries that will perform best in terms of business in my view are Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana, These countries have a stable economic ecosystem. They also enjoy technological boom and infrastructural investment plus vast land for development and favourable climate for agricultural investments.
What are the opportunities for Agribusiness and Agritech in Africa in 2022?
There is a high demand for food due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a gap that entrepreneurs and businesses in agribusiness and agritech should tap into.
Ongoing climate change is also a threat. We need immediate interventions to tackle the unpredictable weather. It is the high time that we put in place tangible mitigation and adaptation measures before it is too late.
Technology is growing fast and we should move into smart ways of production.