KENYA – Data from the Sugar Directorate indicate that, Kenyan private millers were the highest performing in the sugar industry in the nine months to September compared to state owned sugar companies.

Leading the pack is West Kenya Sugar who have extended their market share by 30 percent in the review period from 22.6 percent in the corresponding period last year, widening the pie to control more than a quarter of total production in the country.

The Kabras sugar maker saw its production shoot to 98,793 tonnes between January and September, against 83,116 tonnes in corresponding period last year.

The miller widened the gap with rival Butali Sugar that has now sunk to third position in production with 44,313 tonnes of sugar after being overtaken by Sukari factory, which came in second at 53,573 tonnes, reports Business Daily.

State-owned Nzoia Sugar Company emerged the best among the five government millers with production of 12,591 tonnes followed by South Nyanza Sugar Company (10,912 tonnes), Muhoroni (9,276 tonnes) and Chemelil (2,863 tonnes).

Most of the State-owned companies have been performing dismally due to lack of sufficient capital, ageing machinery, mismanagement and political interference with market leader Mumias Sugar Company remaining shut for a year now.

On the other hand, the private millers have installed new machines that are producing optimally and efficiently besides their private financial muscle.

Sugar imports in the nine months, grew by 70 percent compared with the same period last year as the counrty shipped in more of the sweetener to cover for local deficit.

Imports stood at 324,055 tonnes compared with 190,084 in the corresponding period last year.

Local production declined by 6 percent in the review period compared with last year following poor performance in most of the factories coupled with a shortage of raw material.

Cane delivery to the factories dropped 12 percent in eight months to August compared with the corresponding period in 2019.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicate that cane delivered to factories in the review period stood at 2.9 million tonnes against 3.4 million tonnes at the same time last year.

Total sugar sales were 324,311 tonnes compared with 348,380 tonnes sold in the same period last year, a decline of 7 percent.

Total Sugar closing stock held by all the sugar factories at the end of September 2019 was 10,878 tonnes against 17,866 tonnes in September 2018.