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Nairobi supermarkets ration sugar purchase

Select supermarkets in Nairobi are rationing sugar in Nairobi.

A spot check by Nairobi News indicates a Naivas supermarket outlet located within the CBD had restricted customers from purchasing more than 8kg of sugar (4 -2kg packets).

Sugar prices have increased by almost 30% in the last three months.

Currently a 2kg packet of sugar is retaining at between Sh450 and Sh500.

President William Ruto recently attributed the rise in sugar prices to the confusion and fights within the sugar subsector.

He said, “We’ve had confusion and chaos in the whole sugar sub-sector and we are streamlining that sector because the whole sugarcane sector has been riddled with all manner of confusion and poaching of sugarcane from one corner to another.”

Dr Ruto added, “Everybody is refusing to work following the law. The reason why many sugar companies have closed temporarily is because there is no cane to harvest. They were even harvesting cane that is not mature.”

The Head of State added that the government had awarded licenses for the importation of sugar, in a move aimed at stabilising the prices.

“By mid of this month (August), we will see a different situation pertaining sugar because that is when we expect the first stocks of sugar to come into the country,” he said.

This comes amid reports the government is set to close down sugar factories in Western Kenya owing to lack of sugar cane.

In July 2023, Nzoia Sugar Company, along with West Kenya, Butali, Mumias, Kibos, and Busia sugar factories, had temporarily closed their operations following the scarcity of the raw material.

The growing number of new sugar mills in the Western region had aggravated the issue, as these mills had failed to adequately plan for cane supply.

Consequently, the number of cane farmers had been declining while the number of factories had increased, leading to dependency on a small group of remaining cane farmers.

The removal of cane zoning by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) also allowed factories to source cane from anywhere without regulation.

As a result, the factories had been struggling to harvest enough cane, depleting the mature cane reserves and accepting anything that remotely resembled cane.

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