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Commodities

Sugar importers to apply afresh for permits under new stringent rules

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Sugar importers will now be required to acquire new permits before they are allowed to ship in the commodity in compliance with the new regulations that have been formulated.

The new regulations known as the Crops (Sugar) (Imports, Exports and By-products) Regulations 2020 have been gazetted after the government suspended trader permits last month in order to control the influx of cheap sugar into the country.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said all importers will now have to register under the new set of guidelines in order to be allowed to trade on the product as the state moves to regulate incoming volumes.

“All those who want to continue with imports have to register under the new regulations,” said Mr Munya on Monday.

He said under the new regulations, traders will only be allowed to import what is required in order to avoid dumping of the sweetener in the country.

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“Importers are advised to get and study both the regulations and the guidelines as they begin to apply for registration and apply for the annual permits. Going forward, no sugar will be imported or exported outside the framework of these regulations and guidelines,” he said.

He said these regulations will also govern a number of other key issues in the sector that include the determination of sugar distribution in the market, the repackaging and rebranding of sugar consignments as well as curbing contraband.

The government stopped sugar imports on July 2 as it sought to protect local industry from collapse over excess cheap imports that had seen millers stuck with unmoving stocks in their factories.

The trigger for this action, according to the ministry, was excess importation of sugar in the first half of 2020, which led to market distortions, leading to low sugar prices at factory level.

Kenya is allowed to import a maximum of 350,000 tonnes of sugar annually from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to bridge the local deficit.

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