Cane poaching set to end as millers, growers reach deal

A tractor in Kabras sugarcane zone in Kakamega
A tractor in Kabras sugarcane zone in Kakamega. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Farmers and millers have agreed on key items in the proposed sugar regulations, putting the industry closer to ending perennial cane poaching wars.

In the negotiations brokered by the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and his Kisumu counterpart Anyang’ Nyong’o, the industry players agreed on new zoning rules.

Under the new deal, farmers will no longer be restricted to one sugar miller but will be allowed access to an expanded market consisting of between two and three millers to choose from.

The previous contractual model restricted a farmer to selling cane to just one miller irrespective of terms. Farmers’ representatives and 13 licensed millers took part in the negotiations.

Mr Oparanya noted that the move will be beneficial to both the farmers and the millers who will be segmented into five major regions.

Free market

“While appreciating that we cannot have a complete free market, regional zoning is necessary to both the players as it will ensure that the millers also develop their own sugarcane to meet their milling capacity,” said the Kakamega governor.

The plan indicates that sugarcane farmers based in Kisumu, Siaya, Kericho and Nandi counties will take their produce to Chemelil, Muhoroni and Kibos sugar companies.

Upper western region which involves farmers from Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma will deliver their canes to Nzoia, Butali and West Kenya sugar companies.

On the other hand, those from lower western will take their canes to Mumias, Ole-Pito and Busia sugar companies.

“Sony Sugar, Sukari Industry and Trans Mara Sugar companies will cater for farmers drawn from Homa Bay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori and Narok counties,” noted the proposal.