KENYA – Kenya’s sugar production has increased by 45% in the past nine months due to increased supply of sugarcane by farmers to sugar processing plants, according to a monthly report by the Sugar Directorate.
The quantities produced have increased from 284,036 last year to 411,567 tonnes between the months of January and October this year, the report reveals.
“Sugar production in January-October 2018 was 411,567 tonnes compared to 284,036 tonnes attained in the same period last year, an impressive increase of 45 percent.
“This is a good indicator that the industry is recovering from the drought suffered by the country the previous year, which had led to dwindled sugar production.” says the directorate in the report.
Production increased steadily due to improved performance in Nzoia, West Kenya, Butali, Sukari and Kwale sugar factories in that period and higher output from cane farms.
Operationalization of Olepito Sugar Company and inclusion of processed bulk sugar imports at West Kenya and Sukari mills have also contributed to the increase in production.
The sugar industry in the country has been facing serious setbacks in the past few years that has opened doors to increased importation of sugar from neighbouring countries.
High sugar prices experienced in the recent past had compelled the regulator in the country to increase sugar imports to curb the high prices.
Kenya has an annual sugar demand of 870,000 tonnes but its production level is below the bar due to a high cost of production, old and inefficient sugar crushing machinery as well as mismanagement and unsettled farmers payment arrears.
The country is a net importer of sugar with East and South African states contributing greatly to between 8,000 to 15,000 tonnes of sugar imported on a monthly basis.
Cane production has faced turbulence especially due to unreliable and inconsistent rainfall patterns.
Muhoroni Sugar, Chemelil, Mumias, Nzoia and South Nyanza (Sony) Sugar Company are the major processing industires in the country.
Privately owned companies include West Kenya, Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries Limited, Butali Sugar Mills,Transmara, Sukari Industries Limited, Kwale International and Kisii Sugar Factory.