A US$ 9m sugar factory is set to be constructed in Siaya County, Kenya by a Kisumu businessman and owner of Foam Mattresses Limited.
This comes a time when sugar production is at a low and the industry facing a number of problems.
Surendra Patel, in partnership with an unnamed local investor will set up the plant dubbed South Gem Sugar Factory Limited.
It will have a capacity to crush 1,000 metric tonnes of cane per day and produce 2.5 metric tonnes of sugar.
The projected sugar factory will require about 8,000 hectares of land under sugarcane cultivation, from which the expected average yield per hectare will be 60 tonnes.
The mega development is anticipated to create 300 jobs especially to the youth and locals.
“We have purchased some 40 acres of land where we intend to set up the factory. Once we get the prerequisite regulatory approvals, we shall source the equipment from India,” Mr Patel said.
Mr. Patel further pointed out that construction will take approximately 18 months to be complete.
The capital for this investment is coming from his businesses while the other half is from his co-investor.
Mr Patel who is the proprietor of Foam Mattress Limited has production plants in Kisumu and Nairobi.
He is also involved in the manufacture of PVC pipes, tanks and barbed wire, chain link and other steel products.
Sugar industry in Kenya
The sugar industry in Kenya is currently suffering from low cane production, high costs and stiff competition from cheap sugar imports.
The shortage of raw material has hit struggling State sugar millers very hard, but the nimbler, better managed private firms have continued to thrive.
Kenya annually produces about 600,000 tonnes of sugar compared to an annual consumption of 800,000 tonnes.