The Kenana Sugar Company in Sudan has celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary with a record sugar harvest. Kenana, the largest integrated sugar project in the world, produced 387,044mt of sugar last year, and is poised to increase exports regionally through the COMESA free-trade agreement, and into the EU in the post Lome Convention era.
The Kenana Sugar Company was incorporated in March 1975, and the factory commissioned five years later. Since then, the support of the major shareholders - the Government of Sudan, the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - has proved vital for the stability and ultimate success of the project - once dubbed by critics a 'white elephant'.
Rich alluvial soil
Kenana is situated near Rabak on the eastern bank of the White Nile, 250km south of Sudan's capital, Khartoum. The rich alluvial soils of the Blue Nile flood plain, close to the course of the White Nile with its abundant surface water, are ideal for the cultivation of sugar cane which is currently established on some 40,000 hectares of irrigated land. Production of sugar at Kenana increased steadily from 107,000mt in 1980/81 until, in 1984/5, it surpassed, for the first time, the 300,000mt rated design capacity of the project.
A more recent expansion of the project has now boosted annual sugar production to more than 300,000mt on a regular basis. As part of the expansion programme, the factory's daily crushing rate has been upgraded to 26,000mt of cane, with simultaneous upratings throughout the various stages of the sugar making process.
With Kenana operating at full capacity since 1985, Sudan has enjoyed self-sufficiency in sugar for the first time in its history - an annual 150,000mt of white sugar being provided for the domestic market. Since 1990, Kenana has been exporting sugar to the nearby markets of the Middle East and Africa, providing substantial export earnings for the company of over $62m in...