KENYA – Kenya has registered a 23% increase in sugar imports in the first four months of the year, standing at 184,677 tonnes compared to 150,302 tonnes recorded in the same period last year despite a 13% increase in local production.

According to the Sugar Directorate, the improved local production is attributed to a slight improvement in raw material supply.

“Sugar imported in January–April 2019 totalled 184,677 tonnes against 150,302 tonnes in the same period last year, a 23 percent increase, attributed to high table sugar imports in the review period,” said the directorate.

According to the regulator, April registered a decline of 14 percent in imports due to logistics challenges brought about by Covid-19, reports Business Daily.

During the month, table sugar imports stood at 25,509 tonnes while industrial sugar one was 6,303 tonnes.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa states supplied Kenya with 22,378 tonnes while East African Community provided 3,080 tonnes with the imports from the rest of the world were 5,853 tonnes.

The ex-factory sugar price was Sh4,235 (US$39.88) at the beginning of the year before increasing to Sh4,295 (US$40.44) for a 50-kilo bag in February to end the review period at Sh4,417 (US$41.59) in April.

Total sugar sales in the review period were 193,532 tonnes compared with 180,979 tonnes sold in the same period last year, a rise of seven per cent.

Total sugar closing stock held by all the factories at the end of March was 20,031 tonnes against 3,138 tonnes in March last year.

The consumer price of sugar recently dropped to Sh210 (US$1.98) for a two-kilo packet occasioned by an increase of cheap sugar in the market.

A two-kilo packet of branded sugar has now dropped from a high Sh230 (US$2.17)  in February to a low of Sh210 (US$1.98) as the market responds to an increase of cheap sugar.

Major changes are expected in the sugar sector as the Ministry of Agriculture moves to reorganise the Sugar Directorate amid growing concerns from sugar stakeholders over illegal importation of the sweetener into the country.

The sugar regulator will effect the changes that involve senior management at the directorate.