Sugar cane millers want the government to ban influx of sugar into the country claiming they were incurring huge losses due to the cheap imports.
The millers are crying foul that the price of the sweetener has dropped drastically from Sh.4, 500 to Sh.3, 800 per 50Kg bag as cheaper sugar is dumped into the markets.
The Muhoroni Sugar Company, for instance, records a monthly loss in revenue in excess of Sh.152 million due to the depressed prices occasioned by the imported sugar.
The Muhoroni Receiver Manager, Francis Ooko is now calling on the government to either outlaw sugar coming into the country or set price floors below which the commodity cannot retail in the country.
Addressing the Press in Muhoroni on Thursday, Ooko expressed fear that the present trend if not stopped could plunge the already debt-ridden millers deeper and deny them the opportunity to pull out of red.
“The company is currently producing disproportionately to returns which is quite unsustainable especially given the prevailing liquidity issues it faces,” said Ooko
Attempts to address the situation from a united front as local millers have not been successful with the manager now calling for government’s urgent intervention.
The Kenya Sugar Cane Growers Association (KESGA) Secretary General, Richard Ogendo raised similar concerns stating that a level pricing ground was the minimum that the farmers could accept
Ogendo stressed that foreign sugar must not be allowed to stand on the path of recovery of the state-owned millers that are tinkering at the verge of total collapse saying this would be like another slap in the face to the already disillusioned farmers.
According to the unionist, the trend where local factories, including Western, Sukari and even Kibos are being pushed to review prices downwards and Butali forced to shelve operations should be addressed
By Milton Onyango