The Government of Kenya has prohibited the importation of raw cane with immediate effect as part of the measures to avoid a sugar glut occasioned by an increase in the importation of raw cane.
Other measures announced by the Agriculture CS Hon Peter Munya include suspension of all Brown Sugar imports into the country until further notice. The CS also suspended pre-shipment approvals and Extensions of all Sugar import permits with immediate effect, subjecting all applications for Brown Sugar Imports to the Sugar (Imports/Exports) Regulations soon to be gazetted.
He disclosed that the Ministry shall also work closely with counterpart Agencies to intensify Cross-Border Surveillance along Kenya and Uganda borders to ensure no smuggling of sugar and raw cane.
The CS also directed the Sugar Directorate of the Agriculture and Food Authority to ensure that the new Sugar Importation guidelines give no provision for the extension for existing Brown Sugar import permits.
The CS admitted that the Ministry has noted with great concern an influx of illegal importation of brown sugar from Uganda through the Busia Border with indications of unscrupulous businessmen and traders taking advantage of the COVID-19 curfew hours to sneak unlawful imports into the country at night.
Additionally, some millers who had obtained temporary permits to import raw cane from Uganda for a limited period of three months (September to December 2019) have illegally continued to import raw cane. This trend could potentially affect the livelihoods of Kenyan farmers along the Sugar-Belt, whose crop is ready for harvest.
The uncoordinated importation of raw cane and brown sugar has rendered Kenya’s mills uncompetitive. Ex-factory prices for the mills remain at Kenya shillings 4,200 per 50 KG bag. The price per tonne is Kenya shillings 85,260 compared to Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) for imported sugar, which stands at Kenya shillings 60,117.
“This scenario clearly explains why Kenyan sugar is struggling to compete with imported sugar in the local market”,he said.