KENYA – Kibos Sugar Company will become the first East African firm to produce industrial sugar at the end of this year, targeting regional markets in a move set to cut reliance on imports.

Sugar Directorate said the firm is currently working out supply logistics including procuring raw sugar from Brazil for processing at the Kisumu plant.

The company was supposed to start the industrial sugar processing in 2015.

“Kibos is firming up supply contracts with suppliers and they will be ready to start processing refined sugar at the end of the year,” said head of Sugar Directorate Solomon Odera.

Mr Odera said Kibos has been given a permit to process 30,000 tonnes annually as the directorate monitors the operation before allowing the miller to manufacture more.

Kibos has put up a plant to process 150,000 tonnes of industrial sugar yearly, which is the total Kenya requires for industrial use annually.

Users of industrial sugar in the country are normally forced to import it from Brazil once the government issues them with import licences.

Industrial sugar is an essential input for production of various products, mainly by manufacturers. The sugar is used for manufacturing of goods such as soft drinks, confectioneries and chocolates.

The directorate has in the past accused some of the manufacturers of diverting this sugar for domestic use, abusing the conditional licence issued to them.

The use of industrial sugar for table consumption is illegal. The law allows only licensed operators to import the commodity, which is exempted from duty.

Business Daily