Uganda experienced a significant decline in sugar exports, dropping from 150,000 tonnes in 2021/2022 to 29,000 tonnes in 2023, as reported by Asycuda customs data to Uganda Revenue Authority.
Jim Kabeho, chairperson of Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association, attributed the decrease to limited sugar cane supply, resulting in lower production levels.
In 2023, Uganda exported sugar to four East African Community countries, including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Burundi. Kenya remained the primary export destination despite security challenges, while Sudan offered the highest bid.
However, sugar smuggling from Kenya to Uganda via illegal routes poses challenges, especially with Kenya’s duty-free sugar imports, impacting Uganda’s export volumes.
Additionally, limited exports to Rwanda and Tanzania due to border restrictions further affected Uganda’s sugar trade. Europe received a small portion of Uganda’s sugar exports.
Wilberforce Mubiru, from Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited, highlighted that reduced exports not only affect foreign exchange earnings but also jeopardize market retention and revenue generation.
With Uganda’s estimated annual sugar production at 600,000 metric tonnes and national consumption at 380,000 metric tonnes, only 220,000 metric tonnes are available for export annually.