Sugar imports increase 21pc despite upturn in local production


Sugar on sale at a supermarket. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Sugar imports in the first five months of the year rose 21 percent compared to a similar period in 2019 even as local production slightly increased in the past two months.

According to the Sugar Directorate, imports between January and May stood at 207,814 tonnes against 172,213 tonnes last year.

Enhanced imports came amid a 15 percent increase in local production, with growth in local yields attributed to a slight improvement in sugar cane supply to private millers. All the private mills registered improved productivity in the review period.

“Sugar imported in January–May 2020 amounted to184,677 tonnes against 150,302 tonnes in the same period last year, a 21 percent increase, attributed to high table sugar imports in the review period to bridge the local deficit,” said the directorate.

According to the regulator, May registered a decline of 13 percent in imports due to logistics hitch brought about by Covid-19. In April there was a 14 percent decline.

In the review period, table sugar imports stood at 157,593 tonnes while industrial /refined sweetener was at 100,815 tonnes.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa countries supplied Kenya with 13,755 while East African Community provided 1,180 tonnes with the rest of the world providing 7,702 tonnes.

The ex-factory sugar price was Sh4,235 at the beginning of the year before increasing to Sh4,295 for a 50-kilo bag in February to end the review period at Sh4,263 in May. Total sugar sales in the review period were 243,083 tonnes compared with 210,015 tonnes last year.