Sugar imports drop on improved production

Sugar imports at the Mombasa port. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Sugar production between January and July increased by 15 percent when compared with a similar period last year, compelling the sector regulator to cut imports by nearly half last month.

Data from the Sugar Directorate shows that the volume of the commodity produced hit 480,849 tonnes in the review period up from 418,799 in the corresponding time last year.

The increase saw the directorate limit the imports in July to 9,394 tonnes from a high of 17,200 tonnes a month earlier, representing a 46 percent decline.

“Cumulative sugar production from January to July 2022 was 480,849 tonnes, up from 418,799 tonnes in the same period last year, representing an increase of 15 percent,” said the directorate.

Sugar imports have been on a constant decline since March on the back of better production locally boosted by a steady supply of the raw material.

Data from the regulator shows imports were slashed by 49 percent in June to 17,231 tonnes from 33,650 tonnes in May.

The regulator says sugar production fell slightly in July to 70,728 tonnes from 70,376 tonnes in June which is the highest so far this year.

Kenya has room to import up to 300,000 tonnes of sugar from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) market to fill the annual deficit.

However, last year, the Treasury restricted the quota to 210,000 in what was meant to protect farmers from the influx of cheap sugar.

The increase in production saw a marginal decline in ex-factory prices of the commodity with a 50-kilo bag selling for Sh5,158 from Sh5,199 a month earlier.

However, wholesalers are selling the same quantity at Sh6,400 from Sh5,400 previously, in what they attributed to a shortage of the commodity due to political uncertainty.

Supermarkets are selling a two-kilogramme packet at Sh270 from a low of Sh239, a price that it has been retailing at for nearly a year.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.