Farmers hopeful ban on sugar imports will revive cane growing - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 6 July 2020

Farmers hopeful ban on sugar imports will revive cane growing

Farmers in the cane growing regions have said the ban on sugar imports will help revive the once-thriving sector. 

Agriculture CS Peter Munya prohibited the importation of brown sugar, pending a review of the current import licenses.

The farmers welcomed the move, saying the dumping of cheap imports had caused them unsurmountable losses.

Cane growers also praised the waiver of the Sh62 billion debt that five millers owed the state. 

Richard Ogendo, Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association secretary general, said that the ban and waiver were great victories to the farmers.

Ogendo said that the association will continue to fight for the farmers' rights to ensure that they get value for money for their crops.

“We want to tell the farmers to safeguard the gains we have made. We know corruption fights back and those who have been benefiting from chaos in the sector will fight back,” he said.

Michael Arum, an official of the Kenya National Alliance of Sugar Cane Farmers Organisation said farmers have been suffering as a result of sugar imports.  

Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers national treasurer Stephen Ole Narupa called on the government to seal the porous border points to ensure nothing trickles into the country.

 Charles Atyang, Kenya Association of Sugar Cane and Allied Products chairman thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta and former ODM leader Raila Odinga for listening to the farmer's voice.

Atyang said that farmers were grateful for being given what they deserve.

He urged farmers to shun associations which have been in bed with some of the governors who wanted to colonise farmers through zoning.

Atyang further called on Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o to apologise to sugar cane farmers in Kisumu and the country for not listening to farmers. 

“We are pleading with other politicians that when it comes to issues of sugar cane farmers, we are the leaders and they should give us our room,” he said. 

CS Munya had said the Cabinet had approved the leasing of Muhoroni, Chemelil, Nzoia, Miwani and Sony Sugar Company for 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.

Atyang noted that the first priority should be given to local investors in the factories being leased.

Last week, more than 15 MCAs petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to get rid of unscrupulous sugar barons who smuggle cheap and unlicensed sugar into the country.

The MCAs from Western, North Rift and Nyanza sugar belt also threatened to storm the border control posts at Busia and Malaba.

They claimed that the unregulated commodity is being sneaked into the country through the border.

They noted that close to 6 million sugar cane farmers will be affected if the illegal importation of sugar is allowed.

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