The chairman of the Kwale cane outgrowers association David Ndirangu said the move to ban sugar importation and suspend trading will help cushion local sugar cane farmers and millers. ''This is the right thing to do, we need to take care of local manufacturers’ interest first,'' Ndirangu said.
Ndirangu said that it is true that the influx of some cheap sugar into the local market has rendered local milling firms uncompetitive. “We have confidence in efforts by the government to revitalise the ailing sugar sector in the country and any attempt to boost cane production is welcomed.” Kenya is allowed to import 350,000 tonnes from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to fill the national deficit. Information obtained from the Sugar Directorate shows that imports between January and May stood at 207,814 tonnes against 172,213 tonnes in the same period last year. “We have suspended all brown (table) sugar imports into the country with immediate effect. We have also suspended pre-shipment approvals and extension of all sugar import permits until further notice,” Munya said while announcing the ban last week. Uncoordinated importation of brown sugar has rendered Kenya’s mills uncompetitive. The CS noted that the scenario explains why local sugar is struggling in the market against the imports.
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