Cane delivery to factories fell 12 percent in the year to October compared to 2018, helping raise imports to bridge sugar deficit.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that cane delivered to factories in the review period stood at 3.8 million tonnes against 4.3 million tonnes in the same period last year.
The Sugar Directorate has attributed the decline in deliveries to the immature cane that was not captured during the survey period, even as several factories remained shut.
“There was a lot of immature cane in the field and factories did not take a lot of sugar cane as they should when there is a mature crop in the farms,” said the regulator.
Several factories remained closed for maintenance during the period with others such as Mumias and Kwale shut for a year now.
Production of sugar has been dwindling in recent months in what the Sugar Directorate blamed on a scarcity of raw material to mill and production inefficiencies by State-owned millers.
The shortage saw sugar imports in the review period grow by 65 percent compared with the same period last year.
According to the Sugar Directorate, imports between January and October stood at 355,477 tonnes compared to 213,496 in the corresponding period last year.
Sugar production declined by 10 percent in October compared with the same period last year following poor performance in most of the factories coupled with a serious shortage of raw material.
Kenya is allowed to import 350,000 tonnes of sugar from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa countries to bridge the annual deficit.