A consortium of investors is counting billions of shillings in loss after Kenyan authorities resolved to destroy a Ksh1.4 Billion haul that they had imported from Zimbabwe.
Sirocco Investments (K) Ltd imported 20,000 tonnes of brown sugar from Zimbabwe.
The company is among 200 companies licensed to import sugar. The consignment arrived at the port of Mombasa on July 18, 2018, and has been sitting in the Kilindini customs warehouse for three years now.
In a gazette notice dated July 2, the government resolved the 20,000 tonnes of sugar be destroyed on Wednesday, August 3.
A tonne of sugar currently retails at Ksh80,000 in the country.
“Notice is given that the undermentioned condemned goods shall be disposed by way of destruction on August 3, 2021,” read the gazette notice.
The sugar stored in 40 containers with a capacity of 500 metric tonnes will be crushed today.
Also to be destroyed is an unspecified amount of condemned brown sugar imported by Igaal Trading Company Ltd and Wilayan Traders Co. Ltd.
According to the Agriculture and Food Authority of Kenya (AFA), the country has a sugar deficit. Kenya imports up to 300,000 metric tonnes of sugar to meet the domestic demand of nearly one million tonnes.
In 2020, the domestic sugar production stood at 603,788 metric tonnes. The shortage was caused by the collapse of Mumias Sugar Company and the mismanagement of other milling companies.
Mumias Sugar was put under receivership after failing to pay accrued debts amounting to Ksh4 billion from unpaid loans taken from banks.
On June 4, billionaire Narendra Raval withdrew his Ksh5 billion bid to lease the company citing political interference. Leaders from Western are hopeful that President Kenyatta’s visit to the region will bring the company to its feet.
The sugar production industry was dealt another blow after a large number of farmers abandoned sugarcane farming due to little profit margins.
Early this year, the Ministry of Agriculture approved an increase in the price of a tonne of cane from Ksh3,700 to Ksh 4,040 effective April 1.