• The drop is attributed to the closure of mills in the Western and Nyanza Regions, occasioned by a lack of mature cane.
• The shutdown of local sugar factories has resulted in escalation of prices.
Retail prices of sugar dropped by Sh5 according to the Agriculture and Food Authority-Sugar Directorate.
The directorate said the retail sugar prices in August 2023 averaged Sh224 per kilo down from Sh229 per kilo in July.
A spot check by the Star showed that a kilo of sugar in various supermarkets in Nairobi is retailing between Sh210 to Sh230 while a two-kilo packet is selling between Sh420 to Sh450.
The local sugar industry continues to face an acute shortage of sugarcane following the closure of sugar factories due to a lack of cane shortage.
The shutdown of local sugar factories has resulted in the escalation of the prices of the sweetener.
In August 2023, sugar cane prices ranged between Sh5,300 and Sh6,086 per ton with an average price of Sh5,684 per ton, a slight increase from Sh5,445 per ton in July.
The sugar directorate report indicated that sugar imports in August were at 57,250 metric tons up from 27,179 metric tons in July.
“The imports comprised of 47,904 MT table sugar and 9,346 MT of white refined sugar,” said the report.
The report gives a comparative analysis of industry performance in the period January to August 2022 and 2023.
In August 2023, CIF Mombasa landed values for imported white refined sugar averaged Sh106,042 per tonne compared to Sh83,691/tonne for mill white/brown sugar.
Total sugarcane milled by all sugar factories dropped by 25 percent to 295,809 MT in August 2023 from 395,232 MT in July and 436,694 MT in June.
The drop is attributed to the closure of mills in the Western and Nyanza Regions, occasioned by a lack of mature cane.
In July, AFA issued a notice to sugarcane milling operations in the Western region to temporarily cease with immediate effect for a period of four months to allow sugarcane to mature.
AFA directed that a sugarcane census be undertaken within two months’ time to determine the actual cane situation. The regulatory agency also directed all millers to undertake cane development to ensure adequate supply of raw materials in future.
On Monday, AFA granted approval for the Olepito Sugar factory in Teso South, Busia County to resume its operations.
“We have reviewed your request based on the cane availability survey we undertook on 19th September 2023. We hereby grant approval for sugar milling resumption at a low crushing capacity,” Jude Chesire, AFA acting director said.
‘You are therefore required to resume sugar milling for a period of three months (October to December), and to undertake milling operations for a maximum period of 15 days per month,” he said in the notice.
Similarly, sugar decreased to 27,596 MT from 32,702 MT in July. Total sugar produced (bagged) in August 2023 was 27,680 MT, a 17 percent drop from 33,246 MT in July.
Sugar sales in August 2023 decreased to 30,562 MT from 33,431 MT in July. Total closing stocks of sugar held by all factories as of the end of August 2023 dropped to 4,168 MT from 7,051 MT in July.
The weighted ex-factory sugar price for August 2023 made a slight drop to Sh9,303 from Sh9,538 per 50 kg bag in July and Sh8,312 per 50kg bag in June. Wholesale sugar prices decreased to an average of Sh9,624 per 50kg bag in August 2023, down seven per cent from Sh10,369 per 50kg bag in July.