Over the past couple of years, Kenya’s sugar industry has produced all but no sweet taste.
Instead, something fishy seems to be going on in the sweetener’s market where huge supply swings have become the order of the day and with it turbulent pricing of the commodity.
After going through a rough patch in 2016 and almost the past six months of this year, the Agriculture and Food Authority is now telling consumers to bite their lips hard as the earliest they can expect reprieve in prices is 2022.
Kenya has been unable to produce adequate quantities of sugar to meet local demand despite all the measures taken over the decades in a bid to be self-sufficient.
Apart from one or two millers who has got their act together, State-owned factories are hopping from one financial hole into another, the billions of shillings in bailouts from the Treasury notwithstanding.
The annual shutting down of mills for maintenance only worsens an already bad supply side despite necessity of the exercise.
The almost predictable Comesa safety net extensions have done little to create an efficient system. Shortage of cane has been getting worse.
The woes facing the sugar sector must be addressed once and for all. If it makes much economic sense to solely rely on imports, so be it. Consumers want supply and right prices.