Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) chief executive Errol Jonston has decried increased cane poaching by rival millers that has led to low production. He blamed the menace for poor sales.
Speaking in Mumias town, Mr Jonston accused the rivals of poaching young cane, financed and developed by Mumias at less than eight months old while a mature milling cane crop should be harvested at 18 months.
He said at eight months, the this cane had no commercial value to a miller, and the farmer was losing 60 per cent value of his crop through early harvesting adding that poaching business model was not sustainable within the sugar industry.
“As MSC we would wish to state that this practice is detrimental to the survival of our miller and the sugar industry as a whole if it is allowed to continue under the guise of ‘liberalisation of the market,” he said.
He went on: “The long-term loser will be the farmer and associated beneficiaries attached to each milling unit.” He said the Shikunga weighbridge located within Butere Sub County, 19 km from MSC and 65km from Kibos and Allied Industries should be closed down because it was being used to poach cane from contracted farmers of Mumias.
“We therefore call upon the relevant regulatory agencies to exercise their authority to establish proper control in the industry and restore order to ensure long- term sustainability of the industry,” he said.
The CEO said they are not worried of competition from other millers adding that they can withstand competition, so long as the playing field is level.