The prices of Sugar in Kenya is special experiment, as the taxation on imports of sugar is a 100% and also 16% VAT on the sugar imported. Secondly, the industry is controlled by the state, there been talk of privatization of millers owned and the Kenya Sugar Board who regulate the industry. As well as the Ministry of Agriculture is making sure the output of the farmers are corrected.
Therefore, as the prices worldwide is sinking and going-low, the prices of sugar are going up. This is happening in the months right before election time.
The government must know the industry is struggling as the only private miller Mumias are again on a downward spiral: “Already, the miller has been closed for three months. According to managing director Errol Johnson the closure was meant to fix equipment, which had contributed to the company’s poor performance due to inconsistent maintenance. The closure from April 11 came barely a month after the cash-strapped miller received Sh239 million from the government, as part of the bailout strategy” (BiznaKenya, 2017).
That the Mumias miller proving the big-problems in the Sugar industry, as it has been evident for years. The agricultural output and yields haven’t been the issue alone, it is denial of the state to figure out working changes to the millers, the import and also control it has over it. That the government has the oversight and the insight to the issues, are clearly that the Jubilee haven’t been interested in-changing it, as the benefit of this system. Therefore, President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto hasn’t touched it or done anything else than bailing out Mumias on the last dive of the company. Therefore, the reports shown here. Proves the initial factors to the grand issues and why the prices are sky-rocketing, while the international prices are falling. Take a look!
Barriers for Sugar Productions:
“Sugar milling is a high fixed cost business requiring substantial economies of scale in cane crushed to break-even” (…) “Existing relationships of patronage between governments and large milling companies serve to align the incentives of government and millers such that new entrants would find it difficult to compete with incumbents and obtain the same benefits” (Chisanga, Gathiaka, Onyancha & Vilakazi, P: 12, 2014).
“Government ownership in the sector remains large, despite higher relative efficiency in the private sector and long term plans for privatization. While some privatization has taken place over the past decade, government-controlled factories held a 37 percent production share, with additional non-controlling shares in other firms. Part of the argument in favor of privatization is the relative efficiency of production in private mills over those controlled by the government” (…) “The local sugar milling market is quite concentrated, and combined with the barriers to trade this suggests that the largest players have significant power over prices. Mumias, the largest sugar company, had a market share of 38 percent of domestically produced sugar in 2011, lower than its typical market share due to cane shortages. Combined with the government-controlled share of the industry, this implies that essentially two entities control at least 75 percent of local production. The shares of local producers in domestic market sales vary quite widely depending on the period, as the volume of imports fluctuates a great deal. For example, Kenya Sugar Board data from the first two quarters of 2012 show importswere approximately 33% of local production” (Argent & Begazo, P: 5-6, 2015).
“Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, a government (Jubilee) body, reports that 2.2 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) have closed shop in kenya over the last five years. These are some of the reasons that inform our opposition to Jubilee. Personally, I think Uhuru and Ruto are fine Kenyans; wonderful husband to their spouses; incredible fathers to their children; and great benefactors to their elite friends, but have terribly failed in the duties of the office of the presidency” (…) “All sectors of Kenyan economy has been negatively affected by the floods of cheap imports, brought into kenya by unscrupulous businessmen connected to those in power, having unbridled freedom to import anything of their choice without paying taxes: From sugar industry; to textile; to agriculture, denying kenya the much needed revenue for development. Over the weekends, the leaders behave like Frank Lucas, donating part of the proceeds from these imports to the same societies they are killing by giving out these import certificates” (Sadat, 2017).
That the government haven’t made sure the industry and financial markets been sufficient is proven with the macro problems in Kenya. The import sanctions together with the stronghold control of certain millers and Kenya Sugar Board, there are patronage and cartels that sets the prices and the payments for the yields. Together with the storage and cane production that is initial to the issues that are there today. That President Kenyatta and DP Ruto hasn’t taken charge and paid amends is the reason for the prices at this point. That the Sugar Barons, Sugar Cartels and Sugar Companies are connected with government is understood as the politicians are taking handouts from them as well.
As the COFEK open letter to Kenyatta said so well and I will end with:
“No one in your government can categorically state how much stocks are being held in the strategic grain reserves. Casual talk of wanting quality of the same maize, from the millers lobby, heightens speculation that your government is unwilling to walk the talk on cutting the cost of living. As things stand, it is fair to say that your Government has taken a holiday on consumer protection as cartels take over the all-important food security sector. It follows that your government, is therefore, in breach of Article 46 of the Constitution you swore to protect. Needless to mention, it is a tall order for you to protect and uphold the sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the people of Kenya if they remain hungry – with a single or no meal at all, thanks to the high cost of living. Your government supposedly offers huge subsidies to farmers through farm inputs like fertilizers which do not get to them. It’s the middlemen and cartels who end up smiling to the bank as farmers toil in vain” (COFEK, 2017).
Argent, Jonathan & Begazo, Tania – ‘Competition in Kenyan Markets and Its Impact on Income and Poverty – A Case Study on Sugar and Maize’ (January 2015)
BiznaKenya – ‘Mumias Sugar to close indefinitely over cash problems’ (08.05.2017) link:https://biznakenya.com/mumias-sugar-close-indefinitely-cash-problems/
Chisanga, Brian; Gathiaka, John; Nguruse, George; Onyancha, Stellah & Vilakazi, Thando – ‘Competition in the regional sugar sector: the case of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia – Draft paper for presentation at pre-ICN conference, (22 April 2014)
Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) – ‘Cofek open letter to Uhuru Kenyatta on high cost of living’ (02.05.2017) link: http://www.cofek.co.ke/index.php/news-and-media/1718-cofek-open-letter-to-uhuru-kenyatta-on-high-cost-of-living?showall=&start=1
Sadat, Anwar – ‘REVEALED: WHY The ECONOMY is Almost COLLAPSING Under Uhuru Jubilee Regime, GoK’s Kenya Bureau of STATISTICS Exposes Shocking Numbers’ (07.05.2017) link: https://www.kenya-today.com/opinion/revealed-economy-almost-collapsing-uhuru-jubilee-regime-government-body-kenya-bureau-statistics-exposes-shocking-numbers