Over the past seven months, local sugar production from millers has decreased by nearly a third due to a shortage of cane, leading to a significant surge in prices. Recent data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reveals that domestic sugar production has fallen to 332,034 tonnes, marking a 31.2 percent decline from 482,871 tonnes last year.
This drop in production has resulted in a sharp increase in sugar prices, which have risen by 61.4 percent over the past year, surpassing the rate of increase for other food commodities. For instance, the price of beans has gone up by 27.9 percent, while maize flour and cooking oil prices have increased by 9.6 percent and 18.5 percent respectively.
As of a recent check at Naivas Supermarket, a kilogram of sugar was retailing between Sh213 and Sh225, with Carrefour starting prices at Sh210 per kilo. This situation has been particularly challenging for consumers, as the millers have grappled with a severe shortage of cane this year, leading some to resort to processing immature cane due to depleted stocks of mature cane.