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September 28, 2023

Looming sugar shortage as Comesa countries face sugar shortage.

The price of sugar in the country is likely to go up in the coming months due to the current acute shortage in the Comesa region.

This is happening as companies licenced to import sugar struggle to find the commodity outside Kenya to plug the current deficit.

Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) admitted the possibility of a sugar crisis after the volumes of imports failed to meet the projected volume.

According to AFA chairperson Cornelly Serem, the shortage in Comesa region is attributed to a long period of drought that hindered cane development.

Speaking in Kisumu during a sugarcane review meeting in the country, Serem noted that the situation is likely to land the country into a dire shortage after companies that were licensed to import sugar from the Comesa region failed to bring in enough quantity.

According to Serem, Kenya imports up to 282,000 metric tons of sugar annually from Comesa member States to bridge the gap left by what is produced locally. However, currently, licensed importers have only delivered 85000 metric tons.

This means that Kenyans will have to dig deeper into their pockets to purchase sugar. Currently, one kilogramme of sugar retails between Sh220 and Sh250 in most shops

“We came to do a review and know the status of cane availability in the country. We have made a ruling that the status quo remains. Factories will remain closed until December,” Serem said.

This move, he said, is targeted to protect the interests of the sugarcane farmers while also ensuring that there is enough sugar in the country. Crushing of immature sugarcane, he said, will see farmers run into losses due to lack of weight as well as low sucrose.

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