Kwale Sugar products to hit shelves

Posted on : Wednesday , 20th August 2014

KWALE COUNTY: Kenya’s newest and modern sugarcane milling plant, Kwale International Sugar Company ( Kiscol) based in Kwale County is due for commissioning on October 1. The sugar miller’s management told Weekend Business that the plant currently nearing completion will have an installed capacity to crush 3,500 tonnes of cane per day (TCD). This will eventually be increased to 5,000 TCD. The Sh17.4 billion Kiscol sugar processing facility being built from the ground up incorporates 5,500 hectares of cultivated cane, 18 megawatt bagasse-fired power plant and an irrigation and water management system. It is expected that Kiscol cane products will help cut Kenya’s sugar deficit of 200,000 tonnes by adding 17 per cent to 700,000 tonnes of what East Africa’s largest economy produces from the existing millers. This is one of the largest Greenfield projects in Africa, embarked in 2007 as a Pabari Investments Limited flagship project. According to Mr Harshil Kotecha, director of projects at Kiscol, the projected sugar production by the company is 10 per cent of Kenya’s current consumption, thus, there exists a local market for the sugar to be produced by the miller, even before considering exports. Also, he says, Kiscol will see the new facility sustain 3,000 litres ethanol generation plant, which is located within its 5,500 hectares nucleus farm. “With state-of-the art technology including a sub-surface drip-fed irrigation system, Kiscol is saving on 40 percent of the water requirements for crop growth,’’ Kotecha said. While cane planting commenced in 2008, Kiscol plans to harvest 60 tons of rain fed cane per hectare and 140 tons of irrigated The projected sugar production in 2014 is 700,000 metric tonnes made from 7.5 million tonnes of cane, Kenya Sugar Board (now known as directorate of sugar) Chief Executive Rosemary Mkok said in an earlier interview. Kenya produced a record-high 600,179 tonnes of sugar in 2013, up from 502,563 tonnes the previous year. European market The country produced 6.67 million tonnes of cane in 2013, up from 5.82 million the previous year. Kenya has an installed factory crushing capacity of 30,109 tonnes of cane per day and expects an additional 3,500 tonnes to be added by the Kiscol factory. It is estimated that the cost of producing a tonne of sugar is $570 in Western Kenya compared with $240– $290 in rival producers such as Egypt. Kenya plans to privatise five sugar factories to reduce inefficiency before the end of trade safeguards that limit imports from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa trade bloc. Kotecha said they expect to have their finished products in the market by the 4th quarter of this year. “Our biggest concern in the short run is to fill the deficit in the Kenyan market, however in the long run we will have a look into the European market as our production costs enable us to compete in the world market,” he said.

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