Inside Politics

Cane growers warn against sugar imports

Friday, January 15th, 2021 00:00 |
Sugarcane farming. Photo/Courtesy

The government will issue a comprehensive statement to address complaints by cane growers opposed to an impending sugar importation which is set to affect them adversely.

It follows Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association’s opposition to a pending importation of 57,473 metric tonnes of sugar from the Comesa region saying the region’s quota for 2020 has been exhausted.

“At this point we are unable to comment. The ministry will give its official position through a press statement,” said Rosemary Owino, the head of Sugar Directorate at the Agriculture and Food Authority.

Protecting farmers

Cane growers had accused the government of failing to protect the local sugar industry from dumping.

Terming the impending importation illegal, the growers said a notice issued by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) in October last year was clear on the 2020 import quota deadline.

“This is a clear indication that some well-connected individuals have already been identified to flood the Kenyan market with duty-free sugar imports at the expense of the ailing industry,” said Richard Ogendo, the Secretary General, Kenya Sugar Growers Association.

“We are going to court to block them from releasing the sugar into the market. Some fraudulent ministry officials are out to completely kill this industry,” he added.

He wants companies importing sugar into the country be charged the appropriate duty to cushion local farmers from cheap imports.

Kenya imported 192,527 metric tonnes of sugar between March and October 2020, against an allocation quota of 250,000 metric tonnes.

Local farmers have on several occasions complained about illegal imports, especially from the neighbouring Uganda, saying they are killing the local sugar industry. 

A parliamentary report in 2015 blamed frequent sugar deficits on a scheme by importers to ship in sugar for profit.

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