Sugar imports drop 50 per cent on world market biting shortage


Sugar imports. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Sugar imports in 10 months to October declined by more than half on the back of a biting shortage on the world market which has seen traders struggle to procure stocks.

Data from the Sugar Directorate shows traders imported 96,730 tonnes of the produce from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) down from 201,555 that were imported in the corresponding period last year.

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Traders have been grappling with a shortage of sugar from the Comesa countries, a move that will see Kenya fall short of its import quota from the Member States.

Comesa allocated Kenya a quota of 180,000 tonnes, which it has to import within this year from the Member States, however, traders have hardly shipped in half of the volumes a month to the end of the year.

Head of the directorate Willice Audi said traders are supposed to be importing at least 15,000 tonnes in a month but this has not been achieved due to global scarcity.

Traders are relying on Uganda, eSwatini and Mauritius for imports in the region. “In October 2022, the country only imported mill white/brown sugar from Uganda, Mauritius and the Kingdom of eSwatini, the bulk of which was sourced from eSwatini, 56 per cent of the total imports,” it said.

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The decline comes when the cost of the commodity in the country has skyrocketed with a two-kilo packet retailing at Sh312 from Sh230 in January.

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