Kenya: Sugar output up by 41 per cent due to good weather

Kenya: Sugar production in January rose 41.5 per cent, compared with December last year, buoyed by good weather.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reports that domestic production of sugar rose from 34,651 tonnes in December 2012 to 49,046 tonnes in January 2013.

Cane deliveries increased 24.3 per cent to 564,000 tonnes in January, compared with 453,700 tonnes in December last year.

“Last year, there was low cane production which was caused by bad weather, but we project that the production could go further up this year,” the Kenya Sugar Board chief executive, Ms Rosemary Mkok, said.

Comparisons between January this year and the same period last year show that the sugar industry is not yet completely out of the woods. Domestic production and cane deliveries recorded in January 2013 were still lower than those reported in January 2012.

Historically, while Kenya’s demand for sugar has been on the rise, production has failed to meet the need due to unreliable weather.

A reduction in cane supplies last year coupled with cut-throat competition in the sector made it tough for local manufacturers.

In the six months to December 2012, Mumias Sugar Company recorded a Sh1 billion half-year net loss, citing high operational costs and cane poaching by rival sugar companies in Western Kenya.

The company has already issued a profit warning for the year to June 2013.

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