Cheap sugar imports hurting local farmers, says MP

He faulted the government for allowing cheap imports saying it had the power to seal loopholes where counterfeit goods got their way into the country.

Sunday February 28 2016

KRA, EACC and DCI officers last year intercepted 39 containers stuffed with 88 tonnes of contraband sugar from Brazil valued at Sh56 million and 64 containers of ethanol valued at Sh288 million. Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella on February 28, 2016 asked the Jubilee administration to control the influx of cheap imported sugar into the country. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

KRA, EACC and DCI officers last year intercepted 39 containers stuffed with 88 tonnes of contraband sugar from Brazil valued at Sh56 million and 64 containers of ethanol valued at Sh288 million. Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella on February 28, 2016 asked the Jubilee administration to control the influx of cheap imported sugar into the country. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By RUTH MBULA
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Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella on Sunday challenged the Jubilee administration to control the influx of cheap imported sugar into the country that has flooded the local market.

He said local farmers suffer the most as they have to sell their produce at cheaper prices so as to meet their demands.

Speaking after he officially opened a regional office of Trans Mara Sugar Company at Osinoni in his constituency, Mr Konchella said the jubilee administration should put incentives that will see local farmers benefit most.

“Sugar barons continue to exploit our farmers making them poorer and dependent on aid,” he said.

He faulted the government for allowing cheap imports saying it had the power to seal loopholes where counterfeit goods got their way into the country.

Mr Konchella, a former immigration minister, said the government had a task to man its external borders where some illegal goods get entry.

He said most illegal goods were smuggled through our borders or at the port of Mombasa.

He, however, applauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for his recent move to destroy contraband sugar in Mombasa.

“This is what should happen. The government should be very strict on illegal goods that pose a danger to our economy,” he said.

He however noted that local sugar industries had no capacity to meet the high demand of sugar in the country.

“This has necessitated the need to import sugar. But the government should only allow what is important to meet those demands,” he said.

Trans Mara Sugar Company Chief Executive officer Mr Stan Rau said they had opened up the new regional office to devolve their functions.

Mr Rau said they targeted to have five regional offices and Osinoni was one of them.

Other offices will be opened at Shankoe, Enoosaen, Olontare and Sikawa area.

He said the regional offices will help them interact with farmers more and address their concerns.
He said they had recently spent over Sh800m ($8 million) to expand the Trans Mara sugar factory.

He said they had increased grinding capacity from 2000 tonnes in a day to 8000 tonnes daily.

“An influx of cheap sugar in our markets would mean that local farmers would end up having no market for their produce,” he said.

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