KENYA – Kenyan state-owned sugar company, Mumias Sugar has re-embarked on ethanol production after getting supplies of molasses from other sugar millers i.e. Nzoia, Butali and Muhoroni.
According to reports by Business Daily, the financially struggling company has been depending on ethanol as its mainstream of income.
It halted sugar production over two years ago due to shortage of raw material and a huge debt portfolio.
“We have started processing ethanol after we got supplies of molasses and we expect the current stocks to run for some time,” said an official from Mumias.
The miller is producing 70,000 tonnes of ethanol in an eight- hour shift with the consignment sold to Kenya Medical Research Institute and companies that are manufacturing hand sanitisers.
Alcohol producing firms had been their major customers for years but the demand, according to Mumias, has gone down following the Covid-19 related restriction imposed on the sector.
The government of Kenya has been pumping millions of money in the company in a bid to revive it. Recently, the state waived ksh.11 billion (US$103.4m) in tax arrears which the troubled mill owed the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
“We have started processing ethanol after we got supplies of molasses and we expect the current stocks to run for some time.”Official from Mumias Sugar Company
Other than Mumia’s, the government approved the leasing of five other state-owned sugar factories mid this year, to increase value addition, farmers’ incomes and improve competitiveness and service delivery in the sugar Sector.
The idea behind leasing is that government will invite investors with experience in the global sugar industry with a focus on sugar as the main product and co –production of ethanol, co-generation of power and value add products such as industrial sugar, pharma sugar and sugar cubes.
The five factories slated for leasing are Chemelil sugar, Miwani Sugar Company, which is under receivership, Muhoroni sugar also under receivership, Nzoia sugar company and South Nyanza sugar company.
West Kenya Sugar Company ups power generation
Meanwhile, the country’s leading sugar miller, West Kenya Sugar Company is planning to set up a second power generator of 12MW, doubling its generation capacity to 24MW, to feed its sister company, Rail Paper Mills factory.
The sugar miller uses waste cane fibre (bagasse) as fuel.
This generation supplies the factory with a power demand of 5MW while the balance of 7MW being unutilized, which it plans to channel to the paper mill which has a current demand of 3.5MW.
To facilitate the transmission, the parent company of the sugar miller, Rai Group is seeking to put a 30 kilometre power line between the sugar factory in Kakamega County and its paper mill in Bungoma county, West of Kenya at a cost of Ksh331 million (US$3m).
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