Butali Sugar Company has closed the production gap with sector leader West Kenya as competition between the two archrivals goes a notch higher.
The latest data from the Sugar Directorate shows that Butali has closed the dominance gap to 0.13 percentage points, having produced 7,863 tonnes of sugar last month against West Kenya’s 7,925 out of the 46,313 tonnes that was produced in January.
This is the first time in many years that Butali has inched closer to overtaking the largest miller in the country after Mumias, which was once Kenya’s biggest sugar producer, went down.
“We have heavily invested in our farmers through the cane development programme, a move that has seen us receive enough raw material for milling,” said Butali of the development.
The firm says it has been operating optimally in the last couple of months on improved cane from farmers.
The January production also saw Butali overtake Transmara Sugar Factory, which was number two in the 10 months to October 2018, with production of 55,795 tonnes against Butali’s 54,926 tonnes.
Mumias Sugar did not produce any stocks during the month under review as it remained closed. Nzoia emerged the best among the five government-owned millers with a production of 3,905 tonnes followed by South Nyanza Sugar Company (2,783 tonnes), Muhoroni (2,513 tonnes) and Chemelil (1,613 tonnes).
Most of the State-owned companies have been performing dismally for lack of sufficient capital, ageing machinery, mismanagement and political interference. On the other hand, private millers have installed new machines that are producing efficiently and they also enjoy the financial muscle. The government plans to sell Sony, Chemelil, Nzoia, Muhoroni and Miwani milling companies.