Leaders welcome ban on illegal sugar imports
Friday, July 3rd, 2020
- Leaders from the sugar belt region have welcomed the move by agriculture cabinet secretary Peter Munya to ban the illegal importation of sugar.
- Led by Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o, the leaders said the move will help revitalize the once-thriving sector.
Leaders from the sugar belt region have welcomed the move by agriculture cabinet secretary Peter Munya to ban the illegal importation of sugar.
Led by Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o, the leaders said the move will help revitalize the once thriving sector.
In particular, Nyong'o said that farmers will now have an opportunity to grow their own cane as they are assured of ready markets.
“Western Kenya sugar belt will now have an opportunity to achieve its full potential as the move will benefit farmers, workers and transporters among other critical stakeholders,” he said.
Addressing a press conference at the county headquarters on Friday Nyong'o also welcomed the government's move to lease State-owned sugar mills
According to him this will help increase farmers’ income and improve competitiveness and services in the sugar sector.
Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane Farmers Chief Executive Michael Arum said that sugarcane farmers have been suffering as a result of sugar import surges acerbated by Covid-19 triggered economic depression
Arum also urged the government to pump funds to support development of cane in the interim period.
“This will enable the country to meet its local demand and even export the surplus to neighbouring countries,” he said.
Mr Andrew Bett, a farmer from Kericho County said the money should be channeled through farmers’ cooperatives.
“This is the only viable way of sustaining the local demand after the stoppage of importation,” he said.
Moses Sidigu from Awasi however said that the price of sugarcane should now be increased, blaming the millers for arbitrarily reducing the price from Sh4,100 per tonne last year to Sh3,500 currently.
“The government should also consider reducing the cost of farm inputs like fertilisers to reduce the cost of production and help stabilize the cost of sugar,” he said.
Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers national treasurer Stephen Ole Narupa while welcoming the government move called on the government to seal the porous border points to ensure nothing trickles into the country.
Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association (Kesga) Secretary-General Richard Ogendo however called on leaders from sugarcane growing regions to support the government for the benefit of over 350,000 farmers and over six million people who directly or indirectly benefit from the venture
Their sentiments comes just a day after CS Munya said the Cabinet had approved the leasing of Muhoroni, Chemelil, Nzoia, Miwani and Sony Sugar Company for a period of 20 years to process and develop cane on farms owned by the millers.
Munya said the ministry will invite bids from private firms for the lease of five state-owned factories next week.
The cancellation of import licenses has also received the support of farmers who
expressed frustration than the dumping of cheap imports has caused them unsurmountable losses for the last six months.