Sugar consumption has witnessed a notable decline, plummeting by 12 percent on the back of high cost of the commodity as consumers grapple with the challenges posed by elevated prices.

Jude Chesire, the Head of the Sugar Directorate, shed light on this trend, stating that Kenyan consumers have been deterred from purchasing sugar due to a diminishing purchasing power, exacerbated by competing financial priorities at the household level.

The economic strain on consumers has translated into a palpable shift in behaviour, as reflected in the drop in monthly sugar consumption from 80,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes.

“If we quantify it, we can say the drop is from 80,000 to 70,000 from a survey that we have conducted,” said Mr Chesire.

This statistical insight provides a tangible measure of the scale of the reduction in sugar consumption, leaving shops with unmoving stocks.

The ramifications of this decline in demand are echoing throughout the supply chain, with retailers facing the challenge of slow-moving stocks on their shelves.

What used to be a swift turnover of sugar stocks, taking three to two days, has now stretched to an extended clearance period of up to three weeks, indicating the impact of decreased consumer interest.

The cost dynamics of sugar have undergone a substantial transformation, with a kilogramme of sugar in retail outlets hitting a high of Ksh250, compared to Ksh130 at the beginning of the year.

This drastic surge in price is not merely a result of market forces but is intrinsically tied to a shortage that prompted the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to intervene by halting sugar production by millers in June this year.

This move aimed at curbing the harvesting of immature cane, addressing the root cause of the supply-demand imbalance.

As the Kenyan public grapples with the economic fallout of these developments, industry stakeholders are closely monitoring the situation as AFA allows millers to resume production.

The sharp rise in sugar prices and the subsequent decline in consumption underscore the intricate interplay of economic factors and regulatory decisions that shape the trajectory of key commodities in the country.