Lake Region Governors Call On Privatization Of Sugar Millers

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Lake region governors now want the government to consider privatizing sugar millers in the region in a bid to save the sinking industry.

Kisumu governor professor peter Anyang’ Nyong’o alongside his counterparts, speaking at the ongoing 11th summit of the Lake Region Economic Bloc, called on the state to expedite the process of reviving sector which generates a total of 5bilion US dollars annually.

The governors acknowledged the need to balance the sugar demand through importation, stressing that it should be done only by a state corporation and the profits realized to be ploughed back into the sugar sector.

They further decried an increase in the cases of corruption witnessed in the sector appealing to the government to deal with the menace.

Homabay deputy governor, Mr. Joseph Oyugi Magwanga castigated the tendency of repacking imported sugar with local brands.

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) representative to Kenya Ms. Anne Kawira while addressing the summit outlined that the annual domestic demand for sugar stands at 900,000 tons in Kenya.

However, she says local millers cannot meet the demand as the production of stands at 500,000 tons causing a 400,000 tons annual deficit.

Kawira says the country is therefore forced to balance the market demand for sugar and hence has licensed 56 sugar importing companies.

According to Kawira, the sugar industry has witnessed a decline in sugar production by 10 tons per hectare. This has been recorded over four years, a fall from 66 tons to 55 tons.

Despite Kenya producing sugar above the global average in 2016, the stake has fallen drastically as the current production of 55 tons per hectare, is below the global average of sugar production of 63 tons per ton.

The reduced production has been associated with the high cost of inputs, delayed harvests and disillusionment from the industry by the farmers.

Sugar Farmers through their representatives called for the establishment of a sugar research institute and also for the classification of sugar as food like tea and coffee, and not a commodity.

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