Brazil sugar raises Kenya stockpile to cover five months


Kenya has amassed sugar stocks to run for the next five months, raising hopes for stable prices of the commodity for the rest of the year.

The Sugar Directorate said traders and millers imported 300,000 tonnes of sugar last month alone ahead of the August 31 expiry window of a duty waiver on cheap sugar from Brazil.

The August imports are an equivalent of the country’s six-month sugar demand. The country consumes about 50,000 tonnes of sugar monthly.

Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) director general Alfred Busolo says the imports, coupled with local production is sufficient to service demand between now and February next year.

“We now have enough stocks of sugar in the market and this should last the country the next five months and help to lower the cost further,” said Mr Busolo.

Mr Busolo pointed out that local production has improved, attaining 20,000 tonnes a month and boosting domestic supplies.

The Treasury had scrapped duty on imported sugar from outside the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Market (Comesa) in May following a severe shortage of the commodity in the country that saw a kilo of sugar cross the Sh200 mark.

The increased imports, mainly from Brazil, have helped pull down sugar prices to about Sh100-110 a kilo.

“Basically, Comesa sugar is very expensive compared with the ones that traders have been importing from Brazil,” Solomon Odera, head of the Sugar Directorate said.

Mr Odera says a tonne of sugar from Brazil costs $400(Sh41, 200) per tonne against $700(Sh72, 100) for the same quantity of sweetener sourced within Comesa states.

Stakeholders had raised concerns that Kenyans were staring at higher prices of the commodity in the coming months after the duty window on imports outside Comesa came to an end on August 31.


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