The Kwale International Sugar Company in Kwale County will from July begin packaging its sugar in small quantities as a marketing strategy aimed at reaching as many consumers as possible.
The move comes at a time when the country is grappling with a crisis of imported contraband sugar said to be laced with mercury, copper and lead.
The Company’s Community Relations Manager, Mathias Mutua said they have been doing massive packaging of their products hence only the 50 kilogram bags were in the market.
Mutua said they would start packaging the sugar in small units in a bid to expand their local market.
“We will package the sugar into small units of 500grams, one and two kilogramme packets aimed at the wider Kenyan market,” he said.
The company in Ramisi area started crushing cane in 2015 and has a capacity to mill 3,000 tonnes of cane per day. It also operates an ethanol plant with a capacity to produce 50,000 litres per day.
However, it has been operating below capacity owing to inadequate sugar to mill. It is Kenya’s 12th sugar miller in a sector dominated by trouble-ridden State-owned sugar firms such as Mumias, Nzoia, Sony, Muhoroni and Chemilil.
Other private players in the sugar industry include West Kenya which is in the eye of the contraband sugar storm. Others are Kibos, Butali, Transmara and Sukari Industries.
Mutua said they have been selling their sugar exclusively to distributors in Nairobi, Eldoret and Mombasa thus the decision to directly aim at retail customers particularly in Kwale.
Locals turned to social media to complain about the non-availability of the company sugar in the wake of the contaminated sugar scandal.
The manager added that the government crackdown of contraband sugar was a boon to their business.
“In 2015, we produced 272, 000 tonnes of sugar cane and 21, 000 tonnes of sugar,” he said. The company has about 400 sugarcane out growers and 7, 600 acre-sugarcane plantation.
Mutua assured customers that their sugar was safe since it had the Kenya Bureau of Standards approval, adding that they have at least 124, 000 bags of sugar in their warehouses.
By James Muchai