Kenya halves sugar imports in June 2022


Kenya halves sugar imports in June 2022

Sugar imports at the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya cut its sugar imports nearly in half in June from the previous month, with cane production jumping 11% during the reporting period.

Data from the Sugar Directorate indicate that imports fell by 49 percent to 17,231 during the reporting period from 33,650 a month earlier.

The regulator says sugar cane production jumped 11.3% to 70,376 tonnes, the highest since January.

An increase in production saw commodity prices remain low in the market with one kilogram going for Sh128 against Sh129 in May on average. Retailers have since April kept the price of the two-kilogram packet to an average of 239 shillings.

“Total sugar production in June 2022 was 70,376 tons compared to the previous month when we recorded a total of 63,209 (tons),” the management said in the latest report.

The factory price of sugar fell last month to 5,199 shillings from the 5,261 shillings recorded in May, underlining the impact of increased local production and increased imports in previous months .

In April, sugar imports amounted to 21,665 tons and increased to 33,650 tons in May. High imports were necessitated by a drop in the total amount of cane crushed during the period, which was 673,197 tonnes compared to 719,481 tonnes recorded a month earlier.

The fall in the volume of sugar cane crushed in May saw the quantities produced by the factories decrease by 8% to 63,209 tonnes.

Kenya is allowed to import up to 350,000 tons of sugar from the Comesa bloc to meet the annual local deficit.

Kenyan millers and farmers have complained that the government is allowing more sugar to be imported than necessary, which is negatively impacting local prices.

A sugar task force recently said the regulator should make public the names of importers along with the quantities they are allowed to ship as one of the ways to address farmers’ low incomes.

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Rachel J. Bradford