Kenya’s improved production reduces sugar imports

Excess sugar from outside the 19-member COMESA bloc attracts 100 percent import duty
Customers shop at a store of Kenyan supermarket chain Naivas at Highridge, Nairobi, on January 18, 2018. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP)

Official data from Kenya’s sugar directorate indicates that Sugar imports dropped by 71 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017.

The volume of the sweetener imported in 2018 declined to 284,169 from 989,619 tonnes in the previous year when acute shortage compelled the State to remove import duty.

In May 2017, the country opened a duty-free window for imports to bridge local deficit, this led to the markets being flooded with cheap sweeteners

Reduction in import of sugar has been attributed to the impact of governments policies on customs taxes and improved production

In Kenya, excess sugar attracts import duty at the rate of 25 percent if obtained from 19-member Comesa bloc and 100 percent if it comes from outside. 

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According to the report, improved production implies that the sector is recovering from the severity of drought the industry suffered the previous year.

But even with improved production, consumer sugar prices have remained high in retail shops despite sufficient supply and a decline in factory prices since September last year.

It’s been observed that most retail shops are selling different brands of a two-kilogramme pack at between KSh230 and KSh240, which implies the falling factory prices have not reflected on the shelves.

Sugar is one of the items in Kenya’s food basket used in calculating the cost of living levels. 

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