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Millers face 1.5pc interest on sugar cane pay delays

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A tractor delivers cane to Butali Sugar Factory in Kakamega County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Sugar millers will pay an interest of 1.5 per cent of the value of the produce delivered by farmers in case of delayed payment for their cane, as the government moves to protect growers through enforcement of new contracts.
  • Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has directed Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to ensure farmers and processors enter into new contracts in the next two months to effect the new directive.

Sugar millers will pay an interest of 1.5 per cent of the value of the produce delivered by farmers in case of delayed payment for their cane, as the government moves to protect growers through enforcement of new contracts.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has directed Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to ensure farmers and processors enter into new contracts in the next two months to effect the new directive.

Mr Munya said a review of the current contracts shows that most are skewed towards the miller and are not easily enforceable due to various omissions.

“I have instructed AFA to engage in full-blown sensitisation for growers to enter into (new) contracts with millers within the framework of the regulations, and the same shall be deposited with the Authority for enforcement,” said Mr Munya.

Under the new contracts, harvest-to-mill time for green sugarcane shall not exceed 72 hours while the payment of the grower should be done within seven days of sugar cane delivery at a price derived through the payment formula provided by the Sugarcane Pricing Committee.

Many farmers are currently stuck with unharvested cane that has remained on the ground beyond 48 months. Ordinarily, cane sugarcane should be harvested at 24 months.

The government already set a minimum price of Sh4,040 per tonne that farmers will earn from their produce from April 1.