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Kenya to boost sugar sector to reduce reliance on imports

Xinhua English


NAIROBI, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to boost domestic sugar output in a bid to reduce reliance on imports, a government official said on Wednesday.

Lawrence Karanja, chief administrative secretary of the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, told a virtual meeting that one of the challenges facing the country's sugar industry is the high cost of production as compared to regional and international producers.

"The uncompetitive price of locally-produced sugar makes Kenya an attractive destination for imports," Karanja said during the launch of the Sugar Sub-Sector Strategic Plan by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, which seeks to guide the industry's growth, resilience and sustainability.

Data from the agriculture ministry showed that the country produces about 660,000 tons of sugar annually while imports up to 300,000 tonnes of sugar from other African countries to meet domestic demand of nearly one million tonnes.

Joyce Opondo, chairperson of the sugar sub-sector at Kenya Association of Manufacturers, said that the cash crop plays a vital role in the agricultural sector because it is a source of income for over 400,000 small-scale farmers.

Opondo added that the East African nation currently has a deficit of both table and refined sugar which are met through imports from the Common market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) economic bloc on a duty-free basis. Enditem