Transmara Sugar wins Superbrands award for the third year running

Watch the video here.

Transmara Sugar Company has once again been awarded Superbrands status, the third time in a row that the brand has received this accolade.

The company won the top honour in the Sugar Category at East Africa’s Superbrands Tribute Awards, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 6 March 2024. Pascal Lelong, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, collected the award on behalf of the company.

The award recognises the work done by Transmara Sugar Company between 2022 and 2024 to foster a greater connection between employees, farmers and stakeholders, creating a sustainable business that puts the local economy, quality of life and environmental concerns to the forefront.

Pascal Lelong said: “We are proud to have the Mara Sugar brand awarded as East Africa’s choice of Superbrand – and even more so on the basis of quality, reliability and distinction. There are more than 3500 team members and more than 17,000 farmers working together every day to bring Mara Sugar to your table and today we dedicate this award to them. As an organisation, we want to distinguish ourselves by supplying the market with a quality product all year long.”

In 2024, the company is set to go even further to set high standards, encourage innovation and pursue excellence based on the company’s new mission, vision and values. Transmara Sugar Company will continue to give farmers access to dedicated farming services and expert training, so that they can grow and sell sugar that benefits their family and the local community.

Superbrands operates in 90 countries globally, highlighting the best brands across a range of categories. It defines a Superbrand as one that “offers consumers significant emotional and/or physical advantages over its competitors, which (consciously or subconsciously) consumers want, recognise, and are willing to pay a premium for.”

Participation in Superbrands is offered to the most outstanding brands in their field. Attaining Superbrands status strengthens a brand’s position, adds prestige and reassures consumers and suppliers that they are buying the best brand in its category.

You can find out more on the Superbrands website.

Transmara sets out a new mission, vision and values

Transmara Sugar Company has revealed a brand new mission, vision, and values for 2024 and beyond.

Transmara Sugar Company has revealed a brand new mission, a vision of its future and new values designed to help all stakeholders understand their roles better.

The company’s heads of department met at a special event at the company’s Guest House Hall on 14 December 2023 to develop the plans, which will give Transmara’s 1500 employees, 3000 contractors and 17,000 farmers greater clarity and purpose.

“Our mission is very simple,” said Frederick North-Coombes, Transmara’s CEO, speaking at the event.

“Our mission is growing together. Growing together as employees, as a company, as a community and with our stakeholders. We want to grow together.”

Watch video here.

While the mission provides an overarching goal for the entire company, North-Coombes also laid out a practical vision of Transmara’s future, considering how it will operate not just now, but in 10 years’ time.

“Our vision is to be the inspirational outgrower model in the region,” he said. “We want people to look at us and say, ‘Yes, we want to be like Transmara and do what they are doing.’ We want to be prominent in the industry, where people look up to Transmara because we set high standards, and encourage innovation and excellence.”

North-Coombes explained that doing so requires implementing new company-wide values, which he dubbed SPIRE: Synergy, Passion, Integrity, Respect and Excellence.

“Synergy means working together, because together we can do better,” he said, while passion will see employees and stakeholders, “engaging with pride to excel in what we do.”

“A greater culture of integrity will help to inspire trust and honesty in everything we do,” while Transmara will further, “promote a culture of respect for all stakeholders.” Lastly, excellence means, “delivering product and service at a quality standard across the value chain.”

“SPIRE points up to the direction of where we want to go,” said North-Coombes. “Because the sky is the limit.”

Our mission, vision & values

Mission

Growing together

  • Collective Growth & Success: Commitment to advancing and succeeding together
  • Collaboration: Emphasizing unity and joint efforts
  • Supportive Environment: Fostering individual and group development
  • Community Building: Creating a cohesive and thriving group
  • Continuous Improvement: Striving for ongoing advancement
  • Inclusivity: Ensuring everyone benefits from growth

 

Vision

To be the inspirational sugar-cane outgrower-model in the region

An aspiration for a prominent and influential role in the sugar-cane industry
Setting high standards and encouraging innovation and excellence
Leading practices in efficiency and sustainability
A desire for local or regional leadership

Values

Synergy Together we do better and go beyond
Passion Engaging with pride to excel in our duties
Integrity Inspire trust and honesty in everything we do
Respect To live and promote a culture of respect for all stakeholders and the environment
Excellence To deliver product and services to required quality standards across the value chain

Transmara donates tree seedlings for World Wetlands Day

TRANSMARA Sugar has donated thousands of tree seedlings in aid of World Wetlands Day. 

The company was invited by the National Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA) to Enkongu Enkare wetland near Narosura in Narok South Sub County.

As part of the celebrations, 6,000 tree seedlings were planted on the day, of which 3,000 were donated by Transmara.

An annual event, World Wetlands Day is celebrated on the 2nd February every year. 

It aims to raise national and global awareness about wetlands in order to reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them.

It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration

This year’s theme was ‘It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration’, highlighting the urgent need to prioritise wetland restoration.

The cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and forestry, Hon. Soipan Tuya, CBS, explained more during a speech at the event.

“This theme seeks to emphasise the need to restore our wetlands for livelihood support, carbon dioxide sequestration to mitigate climate change, sustainability of ecological services such as filter of silted water and a sustained source of clean water for domestic, wildlife, agricultural and industrial use,” she said. “Therefore, there is a need for all of us to account for the actions taken in conserving and managing wetlands at global, regional, national and local levels to reverse the continued loss of wetlands.”

Local Awareness

Ruth Ommala, who attended the event on behalf of Transmara, said it was ‘important to raise local awareness’ about the role of the wetlands.

“Wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, world economies, and more,” she said. “And planting seedlings is in line with the government agenda of planting 15 billion trees in the next 10 years.”

Transmara is committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility and has contributed to several spring protection projects in the area, including in Empurkel, Kipakeri, Enooretet, Shankoe, Mapashi and Osinoni, as well as several rainwater harvesting projects in schools within Transmara West’s sub-county, Narok County.

Transmara Sugar promotes the importance of buying local at Changamka Festival

Transmara Sugar Company joined other Kenyan businesses to highlight the importance of building and buying local in Kenya. It was the company’s debut appearance at the Changamka Festival last month, an event that brings together local manufacturers to showcase high-quality locally-manufactured products.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers

Organised by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the festival took place between 1-5 November 2022 in both Nairobi and Kisumu. Changamka Festival featured exhibitors from various manufacturing sectors, including food and beverage, textiles, metal, energy and plastic.

Open to the public, this popular event gave Transmara Sugar Company the chance to increase product and brand awareness, as well as highlight the importance of supporting local manufacturing.

“The event helps to showcase the quality and diversity of locally-manufactured goods made for local, regional and international markets,” said Ruth Ommala, Administration Manager at Transmara Sugar Company, who represented Mara Sugar at the event.

“As well as improving the image and profile of local manufacturing to demonstrate innovation, employment creation, increased tax basket, and support local manufacturing under the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ initiative.”
The aim of the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ strategy is to increase competitiveness and consumption of locally-produced goods and services.

Produced by Transmara Sugar Company Limited, Mara Sugar is a Kenyan brand, made by local people for local people – making the festival the perfect fit for the business.

Local First

Transmara Sugar Company is committed to a ‘local first’ ethos, only using locally-grown sugarcane, working directly with farmers and millers across the Transmara region and supporting them with the training and tools needed to improve their practices.

“As a proud Kenyan business, it’s important to us that we meet our customers and help to raise the profile of locally-made products,” said Ruth Ommala. “Taking part in the Changamka Festival was a great way to do that and we hope to return for the next edition!”

Sugarcane – 10 things you’ve always wanted to ask

Sugar is a staple ingredient in homes worldwide. Delicious in baked goods or stirred into hot tea, life would be a lot less sweet without it – but how much do you know about sugarcane, the plant it comes from? We’ve put together the answers to some of the most asked sugarcane questions.

1. Is sugarcane a vegetable?

No, it’s actually a perennial grass with thick stalks full of precious sucrose, which is the main component of sugar. It regrows after each harvest and provides a crop for many years before it needs to be replanted.

2. What is sugarcane used for?

Well, sugar of course! But it’s a versatile crop and can also be used to create byproducts such as molasses for biofuel, cattle feed, plus bagasse for electricity production and briquettes, which we sell locally. The briquettes also power the Transmara Sugar factory. Filter cake is also used as fertiliser in the sugarcane fields for soil amendment.

3. Can you eat sugarcane raw?

Yes! Cut into segments, peel off the outer layer and chew on the interior of the cane – remember to spit the fibrous material out once you’ve extracted all the sweetness. It can also be squeezed to produce a nice and refreshing sugarcane juice.

4. How is sugarcane grown?

It’s grown in large cane fields, using 40cm sections of mature stalks (it’s possible to grow from seed, but this isn’t the preferred method). Chopped cane stalks (cane setts) are placed in furrows, fertilized, covered and allowed to germinate. Because of the unique climate at Transmara, sugarcane can be planted throughout the year, except in July which is considered to be a drier month.

5. How is sugarcane harvested?

At Transmara Sugar, cane stalks are harvested manually with all leaves and the tops removed. The cleaned stalks are then stacked and transported by road to the sugar mill. The harvesting season starts in May and continues for 11 months until factory closure in April when we do our annual factory maintenance.

6. How much sugarcane is needed to make sugar?

This depends on the sucrose content in the sugarcane and is influenced by many factors, including agroclimatic conditions, cane age, variety and infield management. At Transmara, one ton of sugarcane produces approximately 100kgs of processed sugar.

7. How long does sugarcane take to grow?

Due to the cooler climatic conditions at Transmara, it takes at least 22-24 months to produce mature sugarcane ready for harvest. In warmer tropical conditions, the cycle is closer to 12 months.

8. What’s sugarcane juice good for?

It’s a delicious drink that can be enjoyed on its own, as part of a cocktail or used as an ingredient in cooking.

9. Where is Transmara Sugar grown?

We only choose to use sugarcane grown right here in Kenya. The Transmara region offers plenty of rainfall to encourage the sugarcane to grow and we always work with local farmers, because we want to celebrate a crop grown in Kenya, rather than imported. The sugarcane delivered to the Transmara sugar mill is grown on very fertile soils on well-drained slopes in the upper lands, with sufficient rainfall in the Narok county of Southwest Kenya.

10. How is sugarcane processed?

Once the sugarcane crop is ready, we transport it to our factory for milling. This means crushing the sugarcane to remove the juice and turning the syrup into sugar crystals. We do this 24 hours a day for over 300 days a year! These are dried and quality-checked before being packaged in our Mara Sugar packets. Our brown, white and light sugar is then delivered to retail outlets all across Kenya.

Find out more about Mara Sugar.

Transmara helps plant 2,000 trees

Transmara donates trees for a greener future

The environment is high on Transmara Sugar Company’s agenda, which is why the team is always looking for projects that will leave a positive impact. In October 2022, Transmara employees worked with the local community to plant 2,000 trees.

Green-fingered Transmara Sugar Company employees helped to plant thousands of trees at a Kenyan high school in October 2022.

Transmara helps plant 2,000 trees

Organised by the Environment and Land Court at Kilgoris, the event celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Environment and Land Court within the Republic of Kenya. The court was established to hear and determine disputes relating to the environment in Kenya, as well as the use and occupation of land.

Kilgoris Law Courts

The afternoon began at the Kilgoris Law Courts and participants then walked to Kilgoris Boys’ High School where speeches and tree planting took place. Transmara Sugar Company employees took part in the event alongside pupils from the high school, as well as members of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Land Registry, Land Adjudication Office, Kenya Police Service and Deputy County Commissioners.

Transmara helps plant 2,000 trees

Alongside the Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service, Transmara donated seedlings from its tree nursery to the event, helping to ensure a greener future for the Kilgoris Boys’ High School students.

It’s not the first time that Transmara has aided in such an event, having previously donated seedlings via the National Environment Management Authority’s ‘Green School Program’. It’s a cause that aligns with the company’s core values – Transmara works hard to encourage sustainable practices and has incorporated tree planting into its corporate social responsibility program. 

Transmara’s environmental work

Transmara’s environmental work goes beyond tree planting, too. The company sponsors farmer education programs that teach sugarcane farmers good crop husbandry and intercropping in order to encourage afforestation – introducing trees and seedlings to an area that has previously not been forested – and reduce deforestation.

Samuel Kalu, Corporate and Legal Manager for Transmara Sugar Company, was at the event and believes it’s Transmara’s responsibility to care for the environment. “At Transmara, we take our environmental responsibilities really seriously,” he said. “Whether that’s through donating seedlings, reducing paper waste in the office or equipping sugarcane farmers with the knowledge and skills they need to make environmentally-sound choices.

Transmara helps plant 2,000 trees

“As a business, we feel it’s our responsibility to help care for our environment so that future generations are able to enjoy our beautiful natural surroundings for years and years to come.”

Farming in Kenya: what’s it really like?

What’s farming in Kenya really like? Transmara works hand in hand with Kenyan sugarcane farmers, helping them improve their farming practices, increase their incomes and help transform their communities for the better. We talk to farmer David Taiswa to find out more…

“Life was difficult in the past.”

Rearing cattle and growing maize, David Taiswa was struggling to make ends meet. “I even struggled to pay school fees for my children,” David said, explaining that there was no market for maize.

It wasn’t until he found out about Transmara Sugar that David was able to turn things around. He decided to start growing sugarcane, assured by Transmara that he’d be able to earn a good income from the crop.

Transmara works directly with local farmers like David to produce Mara Sugar, providing training, equipment and advice to help ensure successful crops. With a ‘lot of support’ from Transmara, David’s fortunes began to change.

“They taught us how to plant, how to weed and when to apply fertilizer,” David said. “Because of this training, my yield has doubled. Transmara Sugar also assists us with harvesting. They bring their cutters to harvest the cane. They also bring tractors and transport the cane to the factory.”

And the help that Transmara Sugar provides doesn’t stop there. They pay David’s children’s school fees in advance to ensure that the next generation can flourish, as well as constructing roads that benefit the whole community.

David is one of more than 17,000 farmers that Transmara Sugar collaborates with in the Western Kenyan region. For these farmers, the partnership secures a more stable income which allows them a better quality of life for their families. Some farmers have been able to invest in housing, vehicles and other entrepreneurial endeavours.

Transmara farmers also have access to localised support from extension officers and regional offices. And the model is clearly working for both farmers like David and for Transmara. Since Transmara first started making Mara Sugar began in 2012, they’ve gone from producing 17,000 tonnes of sugar to over 90,000 tonnes in 2021.

“My life has changed greatly thanks to the sugarcane,” David concluded. “If the company continues like this, I’m sure that the living standard of our community will improve a lot.”

It’s a hattrick for Superbrand Mara Sugar

The team at Mara Sugar is celebrating after being named an East African Superbrand for the third time.

Mara Sugar is celebrating after being named an East African Superbrand for the third time in a row.

Participation in Superbrands is by invitation only and is extended to the most outstanding brands in their field.

Attaining the status strengthens Mara Sugar’s position in the market, adding prestige and reassuring consumers and suppliers that they are buying the very best of the best.

Produced by Transmara Sugar Company Limited, Mara Sugar is a Kenyan brand, made by local people for local people.

The company is committed to a ‘local first’ ethos, only using locally grown sugarcane, working directly with farmers and millers across the Transmara region and supporting them with the training and tools needed to improve their practices.

Transmara Sugar has also emphasized the importance of openness and honesty, encouraging conversation with customers in order to understand their expectations and create a product that best serves them.

It is this passion for the local community, for their consumers and their determination to produce the best product possible that has now secured Mara Sugar Superbrands status until 2024.

Pascal Lelong, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Transmara Sugar, said that the win meant ‘so much’.

“To be awarded the Superbrands status for the third campaign in a row means so much,” he said. “Beyond the fact that the brand is now established and recognised in such a competitive category, it also shows how success is possible while being authentic, reliable, trustworthy and sustainable.

“For us it is about growing a future together, about uplifting and developing the Transmara family, the farmers, our employees and the local community who all work so hard.

Superbrands’ status means a happy customer, which in turn translates into growing more sugarcane, more training for farmers and a strengthened community.”

Make tasty Mandazis

Make delicious traditional Mandazi with this easy recipe.

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ cup Mara Sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups of oil for frying

Instructions for making Mandazi:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and milk until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
Roll out 1 portion of dough into a circle about X. Cut into desired shape. Repeat with the remaining dough portions.
Heat the oil in a large pot. In batches, fry the Mandazi for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

Why not try making Swahili spiced tea to enjoy with your Mandazi?

Transmara Sugar Company celebrates its 10 year anniversary

Transmara Sugar Company is celebrating its 10 year anniversary and looking forward to a bright future.

Started in 2012, Transmara is the parent company of East Africa Superbrand, Mara Sugar.
In its early days, the locally-sourced and produced product was popular in regions close to the mill in Transmara.

However, a decade on and it’s a nationally-recognised brand that has grown from strength to strength – increasing production from 17,000 tons of sugar per year in 2012 to more than 100,000 tons in 2021.

Frederick North-Coombes, CEO of Transmara Sugar Company said that it had been a ‘challenging but exciting journey’.

“The know-how and hard work of our teams on the ground and the farmers of our region combined with the trust of our customers has made the progress possible,” he said. “We believe in building on this synergy to develop and grow together.”

Although the quantity of sugar being produced may have increased – the brand’s ethos has stayed exactly the same.

Collaborating with local farmers and millers and ensuring that customers understand where their sugar comes from is key to the brand’s continued success.

Made from sugarcane sourced in the lush green highlands of Transmara and its surroundings, Transmara only uses local ingredients to achieve its signature sweet product.

Transmara’s relationship with local sugarcane farmers goes beyond simply buying their product – Transmara is there right from the start, supporting sugarcane growers by helping with land preparation, seed-cane supply, fertilisation, harvest and transport.

To aid this work, Transmara has built five regional agricultural offices, each staffed and equipped to supply and service farmers – today, Transmara works with some 17,000 farmers over 15,000 hectares of contracted land.

And, of course, the past decade would have been nothing without Transmara’s customers’ support. Operating under a ‘customer first’ approach from the off, Transmara has always been eager to hear from the people that are using its product. By encouraging feedback, the brand has been able to fine-tune their product over the years, creating a relationship built on trust between itself and its customers.

Looking forward, the brand wants to keep doing more of the same – working to ensure that its growth in market share is achieved fairly, honestly and with the sugarcane farming community at its heart.