Market News

Sugar imports up 9pc in May on increased demand


Sugar imports at the Mombasa port. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The volume of sugar imports grew by nine percent in May as the government covered for a slump in domestic production, a new report shows, cushioning consumers from a potential rise in prices of the sweetener.

The Sugar Directorate data indicates the volumes imported in the review period stood at 24,735 tonnes up from 23,138 in the corresponding period last year.

Enhanced imports have seen a kilo of the sweetener drop to Sh109 a kilo from an average of Sh117 in the same period last year.

“Imports amounted to 24,735 tonnes in May 2021. The white refined sugar imports totalled 8,120 tonnes while mill white/brown was 16,615 tonnes,” said the directorate in the monthly report.

The cost of imported sugar has gone up in the review period with a tonne selling at Sh57,473 up from Sh54,832 previously, representing a five percent growth.

High volumes of the commodity this year prompted the Treasury to reduce the quantities that are normally allowed into Kenya as imports.

The Treasury capped the amount of sugar that can be imported duty-free to Kenya from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) at 210,163 tonnes down from 350,000 tonnes annually.

The ministry in a gazette notice in March said imports that exceed the set limit would attract 100 percent duty.

The move was in response to a steady production last year due to enhanced investments by both the government and private players.

Kenya is allowed to import 350,000 tonnes of sugar from the Comesa bloc to bridge the annual deficit.