Nzoia Sugar halts sale of molasses over protests

A tractor transports sugar cane to Nzoia Sugar Factory in Bungoma County on August 18, 2014. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A tractor transports sugar cane to Nzoia Sugar Factory in Bungoma County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Nzoia Sugar Company has stopped selling molasses following an entire day of protests that paralysed operations at the miller's factory in Bungoma County.

“We have banned selling of molasses until further notice...we cannot allow a few people to be causing problems in this company,” the firm’s communication manager Mr Gilbert Awino said yesterday.

The protestors are believed to be brokers - who are against the firm's decision to sell directly to distributors - with the miller warning that action would be taken against employees working with the brokers cartel.

Nzoia says it is losing out on revenue to the dealers, hence the decision to cut out the middlemen and sell directly to distributors.

“We have many cartels at the marketing department who are working with brokers, once a broker gets the gate pass the buyer gives him or her Sh100,000. This is hurting the company,” Macdonald Wamacho, Nzoia's workers’ union secretary said.

“Let the company sell molasses to genuine businessmen who have permits and stop these middlemen from reaping from the firm,” he added, noting that farmers were unable to access the commodity due to high poverty levels.

The miller says a tonne of molasses is currently retailing at Sh14,000 per tonne while they disposing around 25 lorries daily. 

Nzoia sugar is currently selling a 50-kilogramme sack of sugar at Sh8,000 up from Sh4,500 due to shortage of cane that has hit almost all sugar millers in the country.