West Kenya Sugar Company responds to illegal sugar imports scandal
West Kenya Sugar Company Limited would like to issue this statement to set the record straight following a series of inaccurate, misleading and defamatory statements published by mainstream media outlets and on social media about the Company’s involvement in the importation of sugar.
- West Kenya Sugar Company Limited is a leading sugar processing firm based in Kakamega County. We produce the popular Kabras Premium White Sugar and Kabras Brown Sugar. We have invested heavily in an ultra-modern, sugar processing plant located in Kakamega County and take great pride in growing our market share by producing exceptional sugar. Over 60,000 small-scale sugar cane farmers are contracted by West Kenya Sugar Company Ltd to supply the factory with local sugar cane. The Company continuously invests in its contracted farmers and has invested over Sh400 Million in the last 18 months in cane development. We pride ourselves in paying our farmers 7 days from delivery and have had no arrears to farmers since inception in 1981. The Factory employs 3,500 staff members and supports the local community through scholarship funds, medical outreach programmes, building of a maternity hospital, building primary schools, and various other Corporate Social Responsibility activities.
- The extended drought experienced in Kenya in 2016-2017, which was declared a national disaster caused a rise in retail sugar prices. As a result, the Kenya Government through Kenya Gazette Notice Number 4356 (published on 12th May 2017) granted a four-month duty exemption for sugar imports up to 31st August 2017. In view of the exceptionally reduced supply of cane available from our preferred local farmers caused by that drought, West Kenya Sugar Company Limited along with several other companies consequently applied for and were granted a license to import bulk brown sugar by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).
- The importation of sugar involves Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) certification from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) who work with international quality assurance companies to certify that the sugar conforms to KeBS’ KS EAS749:2010 standard. The Kenya Revenue authority is also involved to ensure that all requisite taxes are paid. ISO 9001 – 2008 Certified
- The bulk brown sugar that we imported is placed in quality-controlled, white woven bags which have an inner water-resistant liner. The bags are marked ‘NOT FOR SALE’’ as that sugar requires further processing to our exacting standards before it is released to the consumer market. As we imported bulk brown sugar it was a condition by KeBS that the same should be further processed at the factory in Kakamega. To ensure this condition was met, the same sugar was transported 900 KM by road from Mombasa to Kakamega for processing. The final product is then tested in our laboratories to ensure that it meets the KeBS table sugar quality standards and our own Kabras Sugar brand quality standards. West Kenya Sugar Company Limited operates an advanced quality testing laboratory to ensure the integrity of all our genuine products.
- As a market leader, West Kenya Sugar Company Limited is often a target of counterfeiters and unscrupulous traders and packers who import and pass off contraband products in our name. We therefore enthusiastically commend the ongoing efforts by the various Government Agencies that are working to clamp down on these illegal traders and we support all genuine efforts to ensure that the culprits of such acts are brought to book.
- We have voluntarily provided unfettered access to government inspectors to all our facilities including our Kakamega factory and storage sites in Nairobi, Nakuru and Webuye. Samples of sugar that we imported are currently undergoing testing and we have no doubt that the results will confirm the integrity of our products and serve to counter the inaccurate, unsupported and alarming reports that are being circulated in the media.
- We further wish to confirm that West Kenya Sugar Company Limited was NOT the proprietor of the sugar reportedly seized by Government Authorities at Eastleigh in Nairobi on 5th June 2018. We shall provide any assistance requested of us by Authorities in relation to their on-going investigations.
Consequently, we wish to assure all our farmers, customers and stakeholders that the quality of our brand, Kabras Sugar, which is available at all leading outlets in the country, meets and indeed surpasses all the requisite quality standards. West Kenya Sugar Company Limited remains committed to operating within the highest possible ethical standards in the manufacture of quality table ready branded sugar.
Tejveer S. Rai