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Economy

Millers accuse State of creating sugar shortage

Solomon Odera
Sugar Directorate Solomon Odera. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Sugar millers have raised alarm over what they see as attempt to create an artificial shortage of the sweetener for the benefit of cartels.

They allege the current shortage of the commodity and surge in sugar prices is meant to force importation in a bid to stabilise retail prices.

The millers while dismissing claims by head of Sugar Directorate Solomon Odera that prices had shot up by Sh30 for a two-kilogramme packet, termed the claim as absurd, saying the prices were coming down.

“As the market leader in the industry, we find the claim to be untrue and misleading to the Kenyan public,” said West Kenya Sugar Company managing director Tejveer Rai. He also said the price from December 2018 to December 2019 fell by 13 percent according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Mr Rai, in a statement, indicated that sugar prices have gone down by nearly eight percent in the last 20 days of January 2020.

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Despite a marginal decrease in ex-factory sugar prices, he pointed out that there has been no significant change in retail prices in January 2020 as shelf price is between Sh115 and Sh120 a kilo.

“At the beginning of the year a 50kg bag was selling ex-factory at Sh4,442 and as at 21st January 2020 the price had dropped down to Sh4,100”. If the millers were to go by the current prices of sugar, he noted, the cane prices would fall from the current price of Sh3,900 per tonne to Sh3,592 per tonne.

“The purported increment in sugar prices intends to create an artificial shortage that may lead to importation,” added the West Kenya MD.

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