Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has instructed sugar millers in Kenya not to go on their annual maintenance in order to keep their production. This in the face of increasing sugar prices which peaked at KES 400 so far. Sugar millers in Kenya always go for their annual maintenance in the middle of the year reducing sugar production in the country. One of the major millers in the country Mumias sugar has already gone for the annual maintenance cutting its production.
Food prices in the country have been rising steadily from January leading to the government opening up avenues for food importation. In the sugar industry, there has been an alarming decline in local production with stocks held by millers falling to below 4,000 tonnes against the required reserve 9,000 tonnes considered optimal to stabilize prices.
These developments have necessitated the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to recently remove duty on imported sugar and allowed imports to boost stocks. The waiver on duty implies that traders can import from any other country outside the Comesa region without being charged the 50 percent duty. This has so far contained the price increase only marginally.