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India Lifts Ban on Sugar Exports to Kenya After Ruto Visit

India lifts ban on Sugar Export

In a significant diplomatic move, India has decided to lift the ban on sugar exports to Kenya after President William Ruto's recent visit to the country. This comes as a relief to Kenya, which has been grappling with the consequences of the export restrictions imposed by India on July 27, 2023. The ban had forced Kenya to heavily depend on expensive sugar imports from its neighboring Uganda.

The decision to lift the ban on sugar exports was made under the Advanced Authorization Scheme (AAS), as revealed by an official from the Indian government. This move follows another recent development where India lifted a ban on rice exports to Kenya just last week.

An official from the AAS clarified that while India is expected to have sufficient sugar for domestic consumption, there might not be a surplus quantity for export due to anticipated lower production this year compared to the previous year. As a precautionary measure, refineries that export refined sugar have been advised to halt their exports to ensure an adequate domestic supply in the country.

Under the new AAS directive, refineries are now permitted to import and export sugar to select African countries in regulated quantities, allowing Kenya to benefit from this strategic partnership.

Despite these positive developments, a recent report from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in November indicates that the country is still grappling with high sugar prices. To address this issue, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njunguna Ndungu has proposed increasing sugar imports to enhance product availability in the domestic market.

The data from the Sugar Directorate reveals that 68 percent of the 21,887 tonnes of table sugar imported by Kenya in May came from Uganda. However, Ugandan sugar is 43 percent more expensive at Sh117,848 per tonne compared to India's Sh66,324 per tonne. This stark price difference underscores the significance of the decision to resume sugar exports from India, providing Kenya with a more cost-effective alternative to meet its sugar demands.

The lifting of the ban on sugar exports to Kenya is expected to strengthen economic ties between the two countries and contribute to addressing the challenges posed by high sugar prices in the Kenyan market.

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