In Summary
  • Sugar produced in the country increased by 38 per cent to 654,209, perhaps underlining the oversupply of the commodity in the market, hence the poor prices.
  • A cane census conducted between January and March showed that yields had dwindled by 2.5 per cent.

Farmers and factories are yet to benefit from a drop in sugar imports, even as calls to ban the business so as to safeguard the local industry increase.

The sugar industry is yet to feel the impact of reduced imports, with a report by the Kenya Sugar Board showing a significant decrease in ex-factory sugar prices.

The report from the industry regulator for the 2013/14 financial year says total sugar imports decreased by 23 per cent from a high of 226,011 tonnes last year to 172,924 tonnes.

The report shows that ex-factory prices of sugar over the same period dropped by 24 per cent to Sh74,420 per tonne, down from Sh99,500 in 2012/13.

Imports have for long been blamed for crippling the sector by retailing at much lower prices than local sugar, thus pushing local factories out of business.

Cane farmers, like the millers, also did not reap from the decreased imports after the sector experienced an overall 10 per cent drop in cane prices.

A drop in prices is usually indicative of a struggle by millers to move their stock, owing to an oversupply in the market.

“South Nyanza Sugar Company offered the best cane prices to farmers, at Sh3,567 per tonne, while Soin Sugar Company paid the lowest price, at Sh3,168,” said the regulator.

Increased surveillance and low production resulted in decreased imports from Comesa Free Trade Area and East Africa Community countries by more than 50 per cent.

The EAC provided 3,102 tonnes, a sharp drop from 16,842 tonnes in 2012/13, while Comesa supplied 48,802, compared with 86,230 the previous the year.

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