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Imports up 29pc on industrial sugar buys

Workers offload bags of sugar
Workers offload bags of sugar into a truck at the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Sugar imports in October grew 29 per cent compared with the same period last year, helped by increased demand of industrial commodity by manufacturers.

Latest data from the Sugar Directorate indicate the volume shipped in by traders increased to 23,412 in the review period from 18,173 tonnes in corresponding month last year.

Industrial sugar accounted for the lion’s share of the imports.

“During the month of October 2018, table sugar imports totalled 6,886 tonnes while refined white sugar was 16,525 tonnes,” says the report.

Kenya does not manufacture industrial sugar and relies on imports to meet the annual demand of 150,000 tonnes.

The sugar is mainly used by manufacturers of beverages, confectioneries and sweets among other products.

Tanzania has picked a quarrel with Kenya on account of Dar imports from Kenya with the foreign input.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) countries supplied Kenya with 11,675 tonnes.

EAC provided 1,074 tonnes all being from Uganda whereas the rest of the world countries’ imports were 10,663 tonnes.

Sugar imports from Uganda grew 97 per cent in 10 months to October resulting from surplus stocks in the neighbouring country.

Data from the regulator indicates the volumes jumped to 52,827 tonnes last month from 26,800 tonnes in the same period last year.

This is a huge contrast with last year when Kenya did not get enough stocks from Uganda because of poor production that affected the entire East African region.