Boost to households as February sugar prices ease 4.6 percent


A supermarket staff organises sugar on the shelves. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Sugar prices reduced by 4.6 percent in February following the end of a four-month-long ban on the crushing of cane which has increased local production, handing a boost to consumers.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows a kilo of sugar sold for an average of Sh200.01 in February, a decrease of Sh9.54 from Sh209.55 in January.

A spot check at Naivas Supermarket shows a kilo of white sugar is retailing at between Sh195 and Sh199.5. At Carrefour, it was retailing at between Sh185 and Sh195. Sugar was one of the food products whose prices fell during the period, which helped ease inflation in February.

According to KNBS, inflation eased to 6.3 percent in February from 6.9 percent in January. “Prices of tomatoes, sugar, maize grain-loose and maize flour-loose dropped by 5.7, 4.6, 3.4 and 1.6 percent, respectively, between January 2024 and February 2024,” said the statistics body.

The decline in the price of sugar is a significant boost to households, food manufacturers and pharmaceutical firms who have been dealing with some of the highest prices on record.

The price drop is driven by increased local production of the sweetener after the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) allowed sugar factories to fully resume operations.

AFA had in July last year restricted local crushing of cane to allow immature cane to ripen.

The lift of the ban on December 1, 2023, saw production of the food product nearly double to 487,877 tonnes during the month, up from 25,179 tonnes in November. This came after over 300,000 cane farmers delivered 610,020 tonnes of cane to factories in December. It was also an increase of 105. 9 percent from 296,170 tonnes delivered to the millers in November.

Current prices of the commodity however remain far higher compared to a similar period in 2023.

KNBS data shows a kilogramme of sugar was retailing at an average of Sh153.62 in February last year. This means that the current prices are 30.2 percent higher than last year.

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