The government has banned the importation of brown sugar in Kenya, in a bid to protect local farmers.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said that licences for importation of brown sugar had been cancelled with immediate effect, even as the government moves to rescue the ailing sugar industry in the country.
This comes hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta met a section of leaders from Western Kenya, where among other agenda they discussed the sugar sector especially Mumias and Nzoia sugar factories.
“The Head of State assured the leaders of the Government’s commitment to reviving the sector by fast tracking the implementation of the sugar taskforce report,” saib the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) in a statement.
The sugar sector revival report generated by a Presidential taskforce co-chaired by Agriculture CS Peter Munya and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya outlined several interventions among them writing off of debts owed by the millers.
“As part of the revival process, the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture has already published the sugar sector regulations and is in the process of strengthening the legal framework to anchor sector reforms,” added the statement.
In its report, the taskforce recommended that Kenya should stop most importation of sugar that exposes Kenyans to health risks, as well as killing the local industry.
“Lack of nationwide availability of local affordable sugar especially along the long porous borders encourages seepage of illegal sugar into the country. This sugar is not only cheaper but its quality cannot be vouched for, exposing consumers to health risks,” the taskforce noted in its report.
Most of the imported sugar in Kenya is for industrial use, and it finds its way to the consumer market even before it is refined, exposing Kenyans to health risks.