KENYA – In a significant stride towards enhancing Kenya’s sugar production capacity, Ranges Sugar Factory has been inaugurated in Wanjohi, Kipipiri constituency, Nyandarua County.  

This privately owned sugar beet factory not only marks a historic milestone as the county’s first sugar production facility but also stands out as the first of its kind outside the Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Coast regions. 

The decision to venture into sugar beet milling stems from the plant’s high sucrose concentration compared to traditional cane. Experts believe that if fully explored, sugar beet milling could be a game-changer in bridging Kenya’s national sugar deficit. 

Currently, Kenya produces 600,000 tonnes of sugar annually, falling short of the 800,000 tonnes required for domestic consumption. To fill this gap, the country heavily relies on sugar imports.  

The establishment of Ranges Sugar Factory is a crucial step towards achieving self-sufficiency in sugar production. 

Nyandarua Governor Kiarie Badilisha, during his visit to the factory, expressed optimism about the potential of sugar beet cultivation in the region.  

He urged local farmers to embrace this cash crop, citing its adaptability to Nyandarua’s climatic conditions and soil. The governor also pledged the government’s full support to operationalize the factory efficiently. 

The sugar top variety, specifically chosen for Nyandarua, matures in 90-95 days with an impressive sugar content of 18%. Compared to sugarcane’s 7% sugar content, sugar beet offers a higher yield potential.  

Farmers can harvest the crop every five months, allowing for increased sugar production throughout the year. 

Njuguna, a representative from the factory, expressed hope that sugar beet could become Nyandarua’s cash crop, emphasizing its superior sugar production capabilities.  

Beyond sugar, sugar beet has versatile applications, including the production of bioethanol and livestock feed. It is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, adding further value to its cultivation. 

The establishment of Ranges Sugar Factory aligns with the government’s commitment to stabilize the local sugar industry.  

Recently, the government acquired a two-year extension on import control from COMESA and lifted the ban on millers against crushing immature can. 

Additionally, plans for the privatization of some public sugar millers are underway to enhance efficiency in management and promote sustained growth in the sugar sector. 

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