Kenya to import 100, 000 tonnes of sugar to counter biting shortage


Kenya will import at least 100,000 tonnes of sugar following a biting shortage in the local market.

Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) Director-General Alfred Busolo said 40,000 tonnes would be shipped in within two to three weeks while the remaining 60,000 tonnes would follow after two months.

The price of sugar has risen sharply in the past few months, with a two kilogramme packet now retailing at around Sh350 in most parts of the country.

It is believed that unscrupulous business people are deliberately hoarding the commodity to create an artificial shortage and make a killing out of it.

Mr Busolo said the shortage has been caused by a decrease in sugar cane production due to the effects of the prolonged drought. The average sugar production in the country stands at 600,000 tonnes a year against the average domestic demand of 870,000 tonnes.

The government has directed factories to release all the sugar stocks they are holding.

Busolo said AFA is collaborating with the relevant government agencies to facilitate faster clearance of imported sugar at the ports and borders.

Busolo assured consumers that efforts were being made to ensure adequate sugar supply.

In a related development, the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers has urged AFA to deal with rogue private sugar firms that are hoarding sugar.

The federation's deputy director, Simon Wesechere, said it was not possible for sugar prices to soar beyond the reach of ordinary Kenyans when more than five factories are in operation.