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Sugar imports double in first two months of the year

Imported sugar
Imported sugar at the Port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Sugar imports to Kenya in the two first months of 2019 more than doubled compared with the same period last year following a decline in local production.

According to the Sugar Directorate, imports of the sweetener between January and February stood at 64,050 tonnes compared with 31,884 that was realised in corresponding period last year, depressing domestic factory prices. “Total sugar production in January - February 2019 was 99,199 tonnes compared to 116,654 tonnes achieved in the same period last year, representing a drop of 15 percent. This decrease in production was recorded in most of the factories,” says the directorate.

Table sugar imports totalled 15,772 tonnes while refined white sugar was 11,603 tonnes, highlighting an increase in demand for the commodity.

Sugar prices

The ex-factory sugar price was at the beginning of 2019 at a monthly average of Sh4,082 before dropping to Sh3,868 for a 50-kilo bag in February.

“The drop in ex-factory sugar prices is attributed to increased competition from cheap sugar imports in the market, prompting the local factories to lower their price for them to make sales,” says the directorate.

The directorate notes that the average ex-factory sugar price in February, 2019, was five percent lower than the monthly average witnessed in January.

Total sugar sales in the review period were 102,715 tonnes compared with 108,257 tonnes sold in the same period last year, a decline of five percent.

The regulator says that the ex-factory sugar prices have been on a steady decrease since August 2018 when a high monthly average price of Sh6,024 per bag was attained.

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