Supermarkets cut the price of sugar to under Sh300

Sugar prices have fallen below the Sh300 mark in major supermarkets soon after the regulator accused wholesalers of hoarding the commodity.

At Naivas Supermarket, a two-kilogramme packet of sugar is retailing at between Sh290 and Sh270 depending on the brand, but the same is going for Sh320 at Tuskys Supermarket.

All brands have been selling at above Sh370 across retail chains since March.

READ: Price of sugar still high despite increased imports

A spot check at Naivas indicates that a two-kilogramme packet of local sugar and NutraMeal brands are selling at Sh270 with Mara sugar retailing at Sh290.

Naivas chief operations officer Willy Kimani attributed the declining prices to improved supply in the market.

“We have seen increased supplies in the market and this is the main reason why we have cut the retail price,” Mr Kimani told the Business Daily yesterday.

The Sugar Directorate said last week the price of sugar should be retailing at Sh120 per kilogramme given that there had been an increase in imports, which raised the supply of the commodity in the market.

Between May and last week, traders had imported an estimated 200,000 metric tonnes of sugar in the country.

READ: Sugar production drops 28pc in the first four months

Local stocks have been falling on account of low raw material from the farms that has seen most factories operate below capacity.

As of last week stocks held by all local factories stood at 4,000 metric tonnes, which is way below the required 9,000 needed at any given time in order to prevent consumer prices from going up.

In a sugar sector report for April, the directorate said the monthly average price was 51 per cent higher than the corresponding month in the previous year, due to higher demand than supply.

Kenya’s sugar consumption has been growing in the last couple of years on increasing population with the current annual consumption standing at about 600,000 tonnes.

Low sugar production in Kenya has been attributed to inefficiencies in millers, especially those owned by the State.

READ ALSO: Maize and sugar drive inflation to 5-year high

The government has been pushing for privatisation of the millers but the process has been delayed by a court case filed by the Council of Governors that argue they were not consulted during the planned sale.

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