Counties

Boost for sugarcane growers as pricing committee formed

hamadi-boga

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga before a House committee in the past. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Summary

  • Cane growers are set to reap big following the establishment of Sugarcane Pricing Committee by the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • The appointment of nine-member team has been done on an interim basis as the ministry awaits the outcome of Bungoma constitutional petition No. 5 of 2020 challenging the Crops (Sugar) (General) Regulations.

Cane growers are set to reap big following the establishment of Sugarcane Pricing Committee by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The appointment of nine-member team has been done on an interim basis as the ministry awaits the outcome of Bungoma constitutional petition No. 5 of 2020 challenging the Crops (Sugar) (General) Regulations.

In a letter of appointment sent to one of the members, Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said the team will take over from the defunct committee that stopped reviewing cane prices after the gazettement of the Crops (Sugar) (General) Regulations 2020 in May last year.

“The farmers have therefore not had an opportunity to have their cane prices reviewed in line with the prevailing sugar prices,” said the letter in part.

Prof Boga indicated that the committee will be in place for six months, or until the Bungoma petition is determined, whichever comes first.

According to the terms of reference of the committee, they will oversee the implementation of the cane testing services, which shall among other functions review sugarcane prices based on the sucrose content and determine the amount of money that a farmer will earn from his crop.

Kenya Association of Sugarcane and Allied Products (Kasap) chairman Atyang' Atiang' who is one of the farmers’ representatives said the move to award farmers based on the quality of cane will restore their confidence.

“This is a departure from the current weight based method where growers are paid in tonnes,” he told Bussines Daily.

For a long time, said Mr Atyang’, farmers have been exploited by millers who have been at liberty to set the cost of raw material at which they buy the sugarcane from growers.

Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) introduced sugarcane pricing committee that would set price every month basing on the cost of sugar in the market

“The team will also develop a mechanism for the pricing and appropriation of proceeds from the disposal of sugar production by-products between millers and growers,” said PS Boga.

The nine members of the proposed committee will have voting rights and with powers to co-opt a member from the Sugar Research Institute in furtherance of its mandate.

The composition of the committee will have two representatives including the Director General, one representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives and two representatives of the farmers.

Others include two representatives of the millers and two from the sugar growing counties.

Prof Boga however pointed out that technical officers from AFA and Sugar Research Institute to be co-opted from time to time will have no voting rights.