Resident in bid to stop construction of Busia factory

Cane farmers in Busia in demonstration
Cane farmers in Busia in demonstration supporting the construction of the mill. PHOTO | LINET WAFULA 

A Busia resident has filed a petition at the High Court seeking to stop sugar miller Africa Polysac from establishing a factory in the region.

Joseph Ojwang has accused the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) of not following the right procedures in issuing the licence. The petition comes two months after the Busia High Court dismissed another petition by two farmers from Kakamega County who wanted construction of the sugar mill halted on claims that it posed a health hazard.

The Sh1.3 billion sugar factory was commissioned by Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong mid this year and was expected to crush 3,000 tonnes of cane per day and create more than 1,000 jobs directly.

Mr Ojaamong assured farmers that his administration is committed to attracting investors. He said the county government had hired a lawyer to represent its interest in the matter.

“We are committed to give our investors best conducive environment but not to scare them away,” he said. He said he would support the farmers’ initiative, who had been exploited for a long time by middle men and cartels.

“The county administration will not relent and ensure that African Polysac are given the right to construct the factory and any other investor who is willing to invest in Busia,” said Mr Ojaamong.

The factory officials maintain they followed the right procedure in getting the licence and added they had already invested more than Sh500 million in the project.

If the construction goes on, Africa Polysac will join Mumias, Nzoia, West Kenya and Butali sugar companies in the fight for the region’s market.