Manufacturers want stricter enforcement of sugar packaging regulations to curb abuse by some suspected retailers of repackaging and rebranding of contraband in their names.
Through their lobby, the Kenya Manufacturers Association (KAM), industrialists said that a considerable amount of unaccustomed sugar is smuggled into the country through porous borders, with some ending up on the shelves without undergoing quality controls, which represents a risk to the health of consumers.
The body wants the government to improve inter-agency surveillance to curb sugar smuggling within its borders and urged the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) to enforce the regulations and assume its role in enforcing regulations on repackaging. of both locally produced and imported sugar.
Joyce Opondo, president of KAM’s sugar subsector, said that these illegal sugars cause market distortions, compromise sugar quality and lead to loss of government revenue.
“There are regulatory provisions on sugar packaging standards. However, implementation remains a significant challenge, leading to the retail sale of sugar whose quality and origin are unknown. This encourages smuggling and is very dangerous for consumers’ health, ”said Ms Opondo.
In 2014, Kebs warned retailers not to package sugar as their brand without labeling the miller’s name and origin; either from a local or imported manufacturer.
Manufacturers also opposed imports of the product to Kenya saying it is affecting the price of local sugar.
Kenya is currently a net sugar importer mainly from the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) countries.
The country imports from Comesa duty-free to cover the deficit in times of acute shortages.
“This occasionally leads to oversupply and market saturation, which slows local sugar prices and therefore has an adverse impact not only on price and demand, but also on the industry in general.” , He said.
KAM also wants the government to address the problem of poor roads in sugarcane growing areas.
According to the association, many sugarcane access roads are impassable, especially during the rainy season, which translates into a high response time in delivery, high losses in transit that lead to low efficiency and competitiveness of the industry.
KAM wants the National and County Governments to assume their respective responsibilities in infrastructure development and maintenance as provided in the constitution.