Monday, December 3, 2012

Sugar prices shoot up as cane shortage starts to bite

PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | FILE A shop assistant stocks bags of sugar on a supermarket shelf.

PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | FILE A shop assistant stocks bags of sugar on a supermarket shelf. Kenya Sugar Board director Billy Wanjala on Sunday said sugar prices could rise even further as millers do not have enough raw material to keep them going.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION CORRESPONDENT

Effects of a sugar cane shortage have started to be felt, with the price of sugar rising steadily in the last couple of weeks.

A spot check by the Nation in supermarkets and retail shops in Kakamega and Mumias towns revealed that 1kg of sugar was going for between Sh130  and Sh135 from Sh100.

This came as Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) warned of the worst following the anticipated raw material shortfall.

KSB director Billy Wanjala on Sunday said things could worsen because millers do not have enough raw material to keep them going.

“Currently, sugar firms have started harvesting immature crop but no effort is being done to invest in sugar cane development,” he said.

Mr Wanjala said the fact that festive season was approaching will not help matters “because traders will want to cash in on the crisis.”

Last year, sugar prices shot through the roof after some millers closed following raw material shortage. One kilogramme of sugar retailed at over Sh200.

Farmers urged the government to control the prices before the situation worsens. The growers have also asked KSB to prevail upon Agricultural Finance Corporation to review terms for lending cane development funds.

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