× Business BUSINESS MOTORING SHIPPING & LOGISTICS DR PESA FINANCIAL STANDARD Digital News Videos Health & Science Lifestyle Opinion Education Columnists Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Fact Check Podcasts E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Kenya seeks two year extension of sugar imports limits

By Reuters | March 14th 2015

Kenya has requested a two year extension of sugar import limits from the regional trade bloc Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to revamp its ailing sugar industry, agriculture minister said.

The arrangement limiting imports expired at the end of last month and officials say increased imports could smother the Kenyan sugar business, which is not competitive and has a number of loss-making companies that are struggling to stay afloat.

Kenya is struggling to improve output due to relatively high production costs and loss-making sugar factories, which produce a total of 600,000 tonnes of sugar a year, below the annual consumption of 800,000 tonnes. The deficit is covered through strict import quotas from COMESA.

“It has come to an end but we are negotiating,” Felix Koskei said late on Thursday, referring to the import limits. “We have requested for an extension for two years.” Koskei did not say when the import limits could start if approved by COMESA council of ministers. It was not immediately clear if sugar were coming in freely as the government sought and extension.

Kenya was granted a one-year extension to the sugar import limits by COMESA in February last year to improve the sector, but has so far failed to fully implement such measures. East Africa’s largest economy had been expected to open up its market to imports from COMESA states by February last year, after more than a decade of being allowed to protect its sugar farmers with high tariffs.

It costs $600 (Sh54,600) to produce a tonne of sugar in Kenya, double the cost in regional producers like Sudan, and the cane variety cultivated in the country’s sugar belt takes 18-24 months to mature, double the 8-12 months in producers like Malawi.

Share this story
Standard Group pre-tax profit jumps 8 per cent
The Standard Group posted positive results despite a challenging business environment in the last financial year. The Group made a pre-tax profit of Sh326 million for the financial year ended December 31, 2014; an 8 per cent increase from the previous year.
Property developers ride on holiday homes wave
Short-term rents such as Airbnb have become popular with buyers who don’t reside in the houses throughout the year.