Ruto reveals plans to import sugar
President William Ruto has defended the high sugar prices in the country.
While giving a speech on the agricultural interventions the government is taking to increase food production at the State House, the Head of State suggested the high costs have been caused by ‘confusion’ in the sugar sub-sector.
“It is true sugar is raising concern in the country. We are trying to streamline the whole sugarcane sector. There has been all manner of confusion in the sector including poaching of sugarcane from one corner to another,” Ruto noted
He notes that the individuals in the sugar sector have refused to work within the law.
“The reason why many sugar companies have closed their shops temporarily is because there is no cane to harvest. Sometimes they were even forced to harvest cane that are not mature,” the Head of State added.
He admitted that the sugar prices are up but the government will soon solve the issue.
“It is true that the prices are up. The government has been reluctant to work against farmers by opening importation of sugar,” he added.
However, the president said that his government is working on importing sugar to ensure that the prices are streamlined.
“In the next two to three weeks, we shall be seeing a different situation. We are planning to import the product.”
The main driver for the sharp increase in sugar prices in the country is the shortage of sugarcane in the Western sugar belt.
Data from the Sugar Directorate for instance shows ex-factory sugar prices for May 2023 averaged Sh8,597 per 50-kilogramme bag, a 21 per cent increase from Sh7,055 per in April and Sh6,661 in March.
Sugar prices have jumped at the fastest rate over the past 12 months among other key commodities that are tracked to measure inflation according to KNBS.
Currently the price of 1kg of sugar ranges from Sh240 to Sh260 depending on the brand.