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    Soil survey at Mtibwa area proposed site for new sugar factory investment
    (Sokoine University of Agriculture, 2018) Massawe, B. H. J.; Mdoe, L. L.
    Agriculture is the major employer in Tanzania, accounting for over 60% of the total national employment (URT, 2016.). Most of the employment is attributed to food crops production, mainly done by small scale farmers. Efforts are being done by the government in collaboration with other development partners to improve involvement of small scale holders in cash crop production. The cash crops include sugar cane. The sugar industry is a major employer with direct labour force of approximately 18,000 people, indirect labour force of 57,000 people with 75,000 households and dependants (BACAS, 2015). The current annual demand of sugar in Tanzania is estimated at 590,000 mt, whereas the production is 300,000 mt of raw sugar annually. The deficit of about 290,000 mt is met through importations. Large-scale plantations have been the predominant model for sugarcane production in Tanzania and elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, due to limited land for horizontal expansion of sugarcane estate farming, the sugar companies in Tanzania specifically Kilombero Sugar Company Limited (KSCL) and Mtibwa Sugar Estate in Morogoro region have strongly encouraged outgrowers production (Chongela, 2015). Outgrowers schemes in Tanzania account for approximately 27% of all cane production and 48% respective mills’ throughput. However, their efficiency is hampered by several factors. Outgrowers production in Tanzania is constrained by several factors the main ones being poor management of outgrowers’ associations, poor infrastructure and haulage facilities, poor cane husbandry practices, lack of access to finance to invest in sugarcane production, high harvesting and production costs, and fire outbreaks in outgrowers’ fields before harvesting, and dependence on rain-fed agriculture. Despite the challenges faced, outgrower production is seen as an appropriate model to increase sugarcane production hence fill the existing supply gap of sugar in the country (UNCTAD, 2006). In general, small scale sugar cane outgrowers fields are performing badly in terms of crop performance compared to the large scale plantations they surround (Massawe and Mhoro, 2017). This is mainly due to poor agronomic practices and unguided decisions on soil fertility management. Large scale plantations perform routine soil tests which help them make informed decision on soil fertility management; something which is generally lacking in case of small scale outgrowers. Accurate information on soil types and their distribution on land is important for identifying potential of the soils and the soil-related constraints to high and sustainable production of sugarcane. Many outgrowers of Mtibwa are currently abandoning sugar cane production mainly because of unreliable market of the cane. The Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) reports that the miller at Mtibwa Sugar Estate is currently underperforming resulting to unreliable market to outgrowers cane. In response to this, SBT in collaboration with Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) is advocating starting of a mini sugar cane milling industry in Mtibwa area to increase market reliability of outgrowers’ harvested sugar cane. To appeal to investors, SBT found it of importance to do soil survey in outgrowers farms around proposed investment site to establish the suitability and potential of the area for sugar cane production.