Being Christmas time I had high hopes of keeping up a few Christmas traditions this year. I wanted to make Eggnog and Sugar Cookies to get us in the Christmas spirit. I checked my recipes, made my shopping list, and headed to the grocery store. I was surprised to realize there is no white sugar at the grocery store. I thought maybe they were just out, so I asked the manager, who informed me it is illegal to package and sell white sugar of any kind in Tanzania. This peeked my interest … why would white sugar be illegal?
Apparently, this has been along struggle with sugar in Tanzania. Sugar was the largest cash crop on the mainland in 2013 (296,679 tonnes), followed by cotton (241,198 tonnes), cashew nuts (126,000 tonnes), tobacco (86,877 tonnes), coffee (48,000 tonnes), sisal (37,368 tonnes), and tea (32,422 tonnes). And at present, there are 4 large sugar estates in Tanzania: the Kilombero Sugar Company with 40% market share, the Tanganyika Planting Company (34%), Kagera Sugar (17%), and Mtibwa Sugar Estates (9%). Interestingly, the government retained 25 percent stakes in two of them: Kilombero Sugar Company and Tanganyika Planting Company. In an effort to protect protect local manufacturers, the government banned all importation of sugar for local consumption.
I was able to find Brown Sugar and Pure Sugar Cane, but that’s it. The store manager said they sometimes get white sugar and icing sugar, but if the government finds it, they come in and remove it from the shelves. So .. no white sugar. I didn’t want to miss out on eggnog and sugar cookie, so I researched replacing white sugar with pure sugar cane and it turns out, it is a simple 1:1 replacement. I’ve made (2) batches of eggnog, which were amazing and I did make sugar cookies as well though I was not able to make homemade icing.
- https://www.tanzaniainvest.com/sugar and follow us on www.twitter.com/tanzaniainvest