Kenyans Firm Raise The Alarm Over Illegal Repackaging of Sugar in Their Brand Names

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Unscrupulous businesses are having a field day bringing in huge amounts of sugar into the country illegally. The smuggling ring is also exposing Kenyans to substandard products and further weakening the ailing local sugar industry.

Large imports of brown sugar have made its way here a few months ago, despite a ban by the Ministry of Agriculture, partly aimed at enabling the local players to stay afloat. The excessive inflows are such that importers had exhausted the duty-free import quota they are allowed to get from COMESA countries.

To protect the Kenyan sugar industry players, COMESA has over the years allowed the country to limit the amount of sugar that comes from the partner countries.

Currently, manufacturers want stiffer enforcement over illegal sugar packaging regulations, mainly to curb abuse by some retailers suspected of repackaging and rebranding contraband in their names. According to the association, many sugarcane access roads are impassable especially during rainy seasons and this results in a high turn-around time on delivery, high in-transit losses leading to low efficiency and competitiveness of the industry.

The association continue saying that they want the government to enhance inter-agency surveillance, to curb sugar smuggling within its borders. The government through Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) should enforce regulations that helps to stop this multi-practice. The porous border should be well guarded to control further intrusion of uncustumed sugar into the country.

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