West Kenya Sugar Company has extended its market share lead, accounting for close to a third of total production in the first half of this year.
Data from the Sugar Directorate indicates that West Kenya, owned by businessman Jaswant Singh Rai, now commands 29.3 percent of the output from 25 percent in the first half of last year.
The firm — which produces the Kabras Sugar brand — saw its production rise to 88,531 tonnes between January and February compared to 74,281 tonnes in the corresponding period last year, according to the latest data from the directorate.
The miller widened the gap further from Sukari Factory, second with 46,843 tonnes, and Butali Sugar which managed 43,589 tonnes making it the third biggest producer.
Private millers led the pack as former leader, the listed Mumias Sugar Company remains shut for a year now.
Mumias, majority-owned by the government and for a long time Kenya’s largest miller, did not manage to produce a single tonne in the review period.
In corresponding period last year, Mumias recorded a paltry 4,768 tonnes. Ageing equipment and raw material shortage continue to pull down the firm.
State-owned Nzoia Sugar Company emerged the best among the five government millers with production of 12,582 tonnes followed by South Nyanza Sugar Company (Sony) at 10,086 tonnes, Muhoroni (8,020 tonnes) and Chemelil at 2,863 tonnes.
Most of the State-owned companies have been performing dismally due to lack of sufficient capital, ageing machinery, mismanagement and political interference.
On the other hand, the private millers have installed new machines that are producing optimally and efficiently and enjoy financial muscle.
The government is looking to sell Sony, Chemelil, Nzoia, Muhoroni and Miwani milling companies to strategic investors in order to allow for the injection of new capital and stem their losses.
The five millers are steeped in debt amounting to Sh100 billion mainly attributed to mismanagement.
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