Businesses are sounding the alarm on illegal sugar repackaging

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Companies

Businesses sound the alarm on illegal sugar repackaging


Sugar imports. PHOTO FILE | NMG

Manufacturers want stricter enforcement of sugar packaging regulations to tackle abuse by some retailers suspected of repackaging and renaming contraband products in their name.

Through their lobby, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the manufacturers have said that a significant amount of non-personalized sugar is smuggled into the country through porous borders, and some end up on the shelves. without undergoing quality controls, which poses a risk to the health of consumers.

The body wants the government to strengthen interagency surveillance to curb the smuggling of sugar within its borders and has urged the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) to enforce regulations and assume its role in enforcing regulations. on the repackaging of locally produced and imported sugar.

Joyce Opondo, president of the sugar sub-sector at KAM, said these illegal sugars distort the market, compromise the quality of the sugar and lead to lost revenue for the government.

“There are regulatory provisions on sugar packaging standards. However, enforcement remains a major challenge, leading to the retail sale of sugar of unknown quality and origin. This encourages smuggling and is very dangerous for the health of consumers, ”Ms. Opondo said.

Acute shortage

In 2014, Kebs cautioned retailers against packaging sugar as their brand without labeling the miller’s name and origin; whether from a local manufacturer or imported.

Manufacturers have also challenged imports of the commodity into Kenya, claiming it affects the price of local sugar.

Kenya is currently a net importer of sugar mainly from countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).

The country imports from Comesa duty-free to fill the deficit in times of acute scarcity.

“This sometimes leads to oversupply and glut in the market, which dampens local sugar prices, which has a negative impact not only on prices and demand, but also on the industry as a whole.” , she said.

KAM also wants the government to tackle the problem of poor road conditions in the sugarcane growing areas.

According to the association, many access roads to sugar cane are impassable, especially during the rainy seasons, resulting in high delivery time, high losses in transit resulting in low efficiency and competitiveness of the industry. industry.

KAM wants the national and county governments to assume their respective responsibilities in the development and maintenance of infrastructure, as provided for in the constitution.

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