KENYA – Sugar prices in Kenya witnessed a 4.6 percent reduction in February, bringing relief to consumers after a four-month-long ban on cane crushing ended, boosting local production.  

According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the average price of a kilogram of sugar decreased from Sh209.55 (US$1.44) in January to Sh200.01 (US$1.37) in February. 

This decline in sugar prices contributed to the easing of inflation in February, with KNBS reporting a decrease from 6.9 percent in January to 6.3 percent. The reduction in prices extended beyond sugar, encompassing items like tomatoes, maize grain-loose, and maize flour-loose. 

The significant drop in sugar prices is particularly beneficial for households, food manufacturers, and pharmaceutical firms, providing respite from some of the highest prices on record.  

The boost in local production drove this positive trend, following the Agriculture and Food Authority’s (AFA) decision to allow sugar factories to resume operations fully. 

The ban on local cane crushing, implemented by AFA in July last year, was lifted on December 1, 2023.  

This led to a substantial surge in sugar production, nearly doubling to 487,877 tonnes in December compared to 25,179 tonnes in November. Over 300,000 cane farmers contributed to the increased production by delivering 610,020 tonnes of cane to factories in December. 

Despite the recent decrease, current sugar prices remain significantly higher compared to the same period in 2023. In February last year, a kilogram of sugar was retailing at an average of Sh153.62 (US$1.06), making the current prices approximately 30.2 percent higher than the previous year. 

Recently, the High Court in Kenya has brought to a halt an international tender inviting bids for long leases of state-owned sugar companies.  

Justice Chacha Mwita issued an interim order to freeze the tender, responding to concerns raised by citizen Martin Nyongesa Barasa about the lack of public consultation in the decision-making process. 

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