Commodities

Sugar imports up 19 per cent in six months as local output improves

cane

A tractor transports sugar cane. FILE PHOTO | NMG

geraldandae

Summary

  • Sugar imports in the first half of the year rose 19 per cent compared with a similar period last year even as local production continues to register growth.
  • According to the Sugar Directorate, imports of the commodity between January and June stood at 237,581 tonnes against 200,442 tonnes in the same period last year.
  • The higher imports came even as local production recorded a 22 per cent increase, with growth in local yields attributed to improvement in sugarcane supply to private millers

Sugar imports in the first half of the year rose 19 per cent compared with a similar period last year even as local production continues to register growth.

According to the Sugar Directorate, imports of the commodity between January and June stood at 237,581 tonnes against 200,442 tonnes in the same period last year.

The higher imports came even as local production recorded a 22 per cent increase, with growth in local yields attributed to improvement in sugarcane supply to private millers

. All the private mills registered improved productivity in the review period.

“Sugar imported in January–June 2020 amounted to 237,881 tonnes against 150,302 tonnes in the same period last year, a 19 per cent increase, attributed to high table-sugar imports in the review period to bridge local deficit,” said the directorate.

In the review period, table sugar imports stood at 174,712 tonnes while industrial /refined sweetener was at 62,869 tonnes.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) countries supplied Kenya with 140,230 while the East African Community provided 25,159 tonnes with the rest of the world supplying the balance.

Total sugar sales in the review period were 292,040 tonnes compared with 241,784 tonnes sold in the same period last year.

Total sugar closing stock held by all the factories at the end of June was 17,627 tonnes against 7,226 tonnes in May last year.

The price of sugar closed the period under review at a monthly mean price of Sh4,228 for a 50 kilogramme bag.

The regulator said the mean price in June was three per cent lower than Sh4,366 per realised in June last year.

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.

Kenya is allowed to import up to 300,000 tonnes of sugar annually from Comesa countries to bridge the local deficit.