Zambia Sugar Plc has suspended sugar exports to Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region in order to satisfy the local market, which has been experiencing a crippling shortage of the commodity.
Spokesman for the company, Lovemore Sievu, said in Lusaka Tuesday that his company had begun to flood the Zambian market at the same time as it was building up stocks that will enable it resume exports once the local market was satisfied.
Zambian households and industrial consumers use a maximum of 150,000 metric tons of sugar a year, while the three major sugar producers in the country have a capacity to produce more than 300,000 metric tons of sugar a year.
Sievu said his company used to export 70,000 metric tons of sugar to DR Congo and more than 50,000 metric tons to such countries as Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya.
But local media reports have blamed the lucrative export market for the shortages being experienced by Zambians.
To end the shortage and stop spiralling prices, Zambia sugar Plc has started supplying more of the commodity to major cities, with the capital, Lusaka, receiving 200 metric tons, Livingstone 60 metric tons and the Copperbelt 200 metric tons.