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End of sugar crackdown cuts price by 25 percent




A man picks sugar at a supermarket in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Sugar prices dropped 25 percent in October helped by increased local production and the easing of crackdown against illicit goods that has increased imports of the sweetener.

Data from the Sugar Directorate indicate the price of a 50 kilogramme bag of the commodity was sold at Sh4,435 last month, down from Sh5,935 in September, representing a 25.2 percent drop.

October imports stood at 23,412 tonnes and 35,859 tonnes in September compared to less than 10,000 tonnes at the height of the crackdown after reports that sugar was not safe for human consumption.

“Total sugar imports in October were 23,412 tonnes compared with 18,173 tonnes imported in the same period last year,” reads the report.

Sugar production in October was 49,549 tonnes, up from 36,502 tonnes in September with the growth attributed to good weather.

The retail price of the sweetener followed the downward trend in October, dropping from a high of Sh152 per kilo in August to Sh124.

“The prices picked an upwards trend in the succeeding months to attain a high monthly average of Sh152 per kilo in August,” says the directorate.

“It is observed that improved availability of sugar (both local and imported) in September 2018 helped in pushing wholesale sugar prices downwards, resulting with the retail prices settling on a declining trend to end October 2018 at a monthly average of Sh124 per kilo,” added the report.

Imports have been growing since the government relaxed the crackdown on illegal sugar that saw traders shy away from importing the commodity for fear of it being confiscated by the authorities.