Kenya Sugar Manufacturers Association (KESMA) is seeking to have a ban on sugar imports lifted.
The Association has written to CS Agriculture Peter Munya and Kakamega Governor Wyclif Oparanya on the issue in a letter dated August 4,2020.
This comes as Justicetoday.co.ke established through anonymous sources that huge quantities of cheap sugar are lying at the Port of Mombasa after finding its way into the Country even as the CS for Agriculture announced the ban on brown sugar importation.
According to an insider at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the records show how companies have imported sugar between 500 and 1000 tones allegedly mostly from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Through its chairman Jayanti Patel, KESMA says that one of their millers Busia Sugar Industries is currently facing the challenge of insufficient supply of sugarcane to mills in their catchment area.
“The miller has requested that the sugarcane ban be lifted with regards to the row cane for milling as they need to supplement their sources so as to be able to mill their capacity, “Added Patel in the letter dated August 4,2020.
KEMSA says that the situation of low sugarcane supply is as a result of low uptake of sugarcane farming in the Busia Region.
“Busia Sugar Company is already working on enhancing sugarcane farming in the country. However, in the meantime they need a solution,” Added Patel.
In the letter KESMA says that lifting the ban on the supply of sugarcane from Uganda will result in no conflict of interest whatsoever as local supply of the crop is currently insufficient.
“The situation is only temporary and once enough cane has been developed and available importation of the same will be unnecessary. Kindly take the necessary action to boost sugar production for the local market, “says Patel.
At the same time, Chairman Western Development Initiative Association (WEDIA)Joseph Barasa says that the little cane available is on the low land making harvesting more problematic hence resulting in factories struggling to operate.
“However, farmers have been encouraged to plant more cane as cane from outside can only be allowed in when there is scarcity of raw material,” added Barasa.
WEDIA is a lobby group that fights for the rights of the farmers.
In July, Munya banned importation of brown sugar to tighten the measures on illegal sugar imports in order to close the loopholes.
The orders further state that the importation of raw sugarcane into the country is prohibited with immediate effect and that all applications for the importations of brown sugar shall be subjected to the sugar imports/exports regulations soon to be gazette.
Munya said that the ministry of agriculture will work closely with counterpart agencies to intensify cross border surveillance along the Kenya Uganda border to ensure that there is no smuggling of raw sugarcane from Uganda into the country for milling in Kenya.
“I have also directed the Kenya Sugar Directorate to ensure that all these orders are complied with and implemented with immediate effect,” he said.
On the contrary our source indicated that the above-mentioned quantities of sugar have already been imported into the country by the said companies in total contravention of the banning orders issued by the Minister.
Speaking on phone, Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA)Director General Antony Muteithi denied having knowledge of the said sugar that had been imported into the Country and promised to make a follow-up to get to the bottom of it.