Residents have been forced to heat sweets and use the syrup in their tea after the ongoing crackdown on contraband sugar that left shelves in the town empty.

The crackdown on imported sugar begun after claims that it contained mercury, Lead and copper.

Retailer Peter Jillo told the Star on Wednesday he no longer stocks sugar citing frustrations from police.

“Since the crackdown started, now every sugar has become contraband. They see sugar in your shop they take it and arrest you,” he said.

“To make life easy for myself, I don’t stock sugar anymore. We have to wait until this issue dies down but for now.

But other traders have taken full advantage of the situation and are selling the commodity at a high price.

A kilo of sugar which would initially retail at between Sh90-100 is now being sold at between Sh200 and 250..

A resident Joel Mwalengu said he cannot afford the expensive sugar and is forced to buy a packet of sweets which has now become their substitute.

“There is no sugar at all. Ask around. Maybe two of three people are the ones stocking and they are damn expensive,” he said.

Mwalengu said his wife has had to add sweets to tea and use them while baking.

“To make life easy since we are all used to adding sugar to our food,we have turned to sweets since they are cheaper,” he said.

“My wife adds a few pieces of the sweets to tea and other foods we use. Its not the best option but its better than nothing.”

Last week, police seized over 100 bags of contraband sugar worth over Sh500,000 in various crackdowns in the area.

Lamu county police commander Muchangi Kioi said the crackdown will continue as long as the threat contraband sugar still looms.

The locals asked the government to intervene and normalize the life they were used to.

Others now say they have had to adapt uncomfortable lifestyles since the sugar shortage kicked in.

Granton Hinzano said his family has to endure a not so pleasant breakfast of salted porridge since the sugar is now out of their reach.

“You walk into a shop here and ask for sugar and the shopkeeper stares at you as if you are asking for the impossible. My family now has to take porridge and add salt. Tea is way beyond our reach now,” Hinzano said.

On June 23, head nutritionist at the Health Ministry said Kenyans should not panic over the sugar.

Eastleigh sugar
Tonnes of contraband sugar that was recovered in Eastleigh. 

Gladys Mugambi noted that taking eight to 10 milligrams of copper a day is good for you. In fact, it’s the minimum daily requirement for adults.

She spoke to the Star as thousands of tonnes of sugar were being seized around the country, much of it contraband, some of it reported to be contaminated with high levels of copper and lead.

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