Indian firm to build Sh5bn sugar complex in Kisii County

Sugar cane farming
Kisii produces 1.8m tonnes of cane annually. PHOTO/FILE
Indian manufacturing giant Kanoria Group will set up a Sh5 billion sugar factory in Kisii, Kenya, piling additional pressure on local millers who are struggling to remain in business amid an influx of cheap imports in the market.

The factory, which will be located in South Mugirango in Kisii County, will have the capacity to crush 5,000 tonnes of cane per day and produce 172,500 tonnes of sugar yearly.

The facility will also have a 10 MW electricity generation unit and a distillery that will produce 15 million litres of ethanol annually.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae and Kanoria Group’s chief finance officer Vinod Vora have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of the facility whose construction is expected to start in July.

“This is the second project the Kanoria Group is establishing outside of India, the first being in Ethiopia. We chose to invest in Kisii because of the favourable agri-climatic conditions,” Mr Vora said.

On completion, the Kanoria plant will be the second largest sugar factory in Kenya after that of the Mumias Sugar Company.

“The establishment of this sugar complex will improve residents’ livelihoods in South Mugirango and the county as a whole. It will create 1,000 direct jobs and 2,500 indirect jobs for our people,” Mr Ongwae said.

The Kisii government will avail land to the investor on a lease agreement, according to the recently signed MOU.

Kanoria is finalising a feasibility study to assess the technical and environmental aspects of the project.

The company is also in the process of confirming the project’s viability in terms of environmental conditions, transport and transmission logistics.

Kisii County currently produces 1.8 million tonnes of cane annually, which is transported over long distances to Tranmara, Sony and Sukari factories.

Kanoria Group, one of the oldest and most respected business families in India,
operates companies engaged in the production of sugar, tea, cement, pharmaceuticals, packaging, jute products, textiles and roofing materials.