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Kenya destroys condemned Zimbabwean brown sugar worth US$13m

KENYAN authorities are set to destroy 20,000 tonnes of condemned Zimbabwean brown sugar that has been lying at the Kilindini customs warehouse in Mombasa for three years.

According to the Kenyan Gazette notice of July 2, which the port operations chief manager, Mr Abdi Malik Hussein issued, the sugar worth over Sh1.4 billion (US$12,9 million) will be crushed today, 3 August.

The sugar packed in 40 containers of 500 metric tonnes each, arrived at the Port of Mombasa on July 15, 2018, aboard MSC Nicole. It was imported by Nairobi-based company, Sirocco Investments (K) Ltd.

“Pursuant to the provisions of sections 42 and 248 of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004, notice is given that the undermentioned condemned goods shall be disposed by way of destruction on August 3, 2021,” stated the notice.

Sirocco Investments is one of the more than 200 companies licensed to import sugar to plug deficit in the country, according to the Agriculture and Food Authority of Kenya (AFA).

Also to be destroyed is an unspecified amount of condemned brown sugar imported by Igaal Trading Company Ltd and Wilayan Traders Co. Ltd.

Kenya imports up to 300,000 metric tonnes of sugar from other African countries with Uganda importing the lion’s share, to meet domestic demand of nearly one million tonnes.

A tonne of sugar goes for about Sh80,000 (US$735) in Kenya.

In 2020, 603,788 tonnes of sugar were produced compared to 440,935 metric tonnes in 2019.

In 2019, domestic sugar production declined by 10.2 per cent from 491,000 tonnes in 2018 to 440,000. The country had to import 458,000 tonnes to meet demand.

Early this year, the ministry approved an increase in the price of a tonne of cane delivered from Sh3,700 to Sh4,040 effective April 1,  to motivate farmers.

At the same time, the National Treasury lowered its cap on duty-free sugar import to Kenya from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to 210,163 tonnes from 300,000 tonnes.

Uganda accounts for 43 percent of the sugar Kenya imports from Comesa. This year 90,000 tonnes of sugar will be imported from Uganda and the remaining 160,000 tonnes from other countries after exhausting its Comesa import quota for 2020.

Key non-Comesa countries that export their sugar to Kenya include Brazil, Thailand, India, and Mauritius.

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