Cheap sugar imports from India, Madagascar cool prices


Trucks within the port of Mombasa waiting to be loaded with imported bagged sugar. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Cheap sugar imports from India and Madagascar have helped to ease the runaway price of the commodity in Kenya as traders avoided sourcing the sweetener from expensive markets.

Data from the Sugar Directorate shows Kenya brought in 8,740 tonnes of table sugar in February with India and Madagascar accounting for at least 80 percent of the total imports.

The directorate says a tonne of sugar from Madagascar landed in Kenya at Sh65,536 with that from India getting to Mombasa at Sh72,672 down from Sh75,000 in January.

Traders avoided expensive source markets such as Egypt and Uganda, where a month earlier they had procured a tonne of the commodity at Sh84,356 and Sh101,562 respectively.

Read: Sugar millers locked out of duty free imports window

Business people had in the previous months been acquiring significant stocks of the commodity from Uganda owing to its proximity to Kenya.

The directorate says the consumer price of sugar has dropped from Sh155 per kilogramme in January on average, to Sh147 currently.

The prices are expected to dip further in the coming days as more of the cheap commodity arrives in the country.

At the supermarkets, a two-kilogramme packet is retailing at Sh289 from Sh312 for the same quantity in January this year.

The first two vessels with over 42,000 tonnes of sugar docked last month at the port of Mombasa, easing the current decline in production by the local millers.

Read: Kenya risks sugar crisis on shortage in global market

The government opened an import window in December that would see traders ship in 100,000 tonnes of sugar outside of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region to curb an imminent shortage in the country that had pushed up the cost of the sweetener to Sh312 for a 2-kilogramme packet.

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