West Kenya Sugar Company extended its market share, jumping seven percentage points in the first quarter of the year compared to the Kabras based firm controlled 30 percent of the total sales.
Data by the Sugar Directorate shows the miller sold 44,597 tonnes of sugar in the review period, up from 32,594 tonnes in the previous quarter.
The Rai Group, which owns the company has attributed the market leadership to timely payments to farmers and investment in new machines that have created efficiency.
“When you pay farmers on time and offer them a good price per tonne, then they will supply enough cane for processing,” said Jaswant Rai, the miller’s chairman, in a recent interview.
The miller pays Sh3,900 a tonne as other processors have cut the price per tonne to Sh3,700.
The miller widened the gap with bitter rival Butali Sugar, which emerged second having sold 24,186 tonnes to overtake Transmara (20,648 tonnes), which had held the second position for a while.
State-owned Muhoroni Company emerged best among the government millers recording sales of 3,048 tonnes followed by Nzoia at 2,671 and Sony at 1,340 tonnes with Chemelil coming last at 1,179 tonnes.
The sugar sector has been hit by a lack of enough cane for milling which has seen the levels of imports enhanced to cover the deficit. The imports to Kenya grew by 86 percent in quarter one compared to the previous year, following scarcity of the raw material that compelled the regulator to step up the shipment of the sweetener.
According to the directorate, the volume of sugar imported in the review period increased to 118,065 compared to the same period last year where 63,496 was shipped in.