Nzoia cane farmers get Sh300m Uhuru pledge

Nzoia Sugar factory was recently closed for lack of cane. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Nzoia Sugar factory was recently closed for lack of cane. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Nzoia Sugar farmers on Thursday received Sh300 million promised by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his campaign tour of Bungoma County last month.

The money was delivered by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett on Wednesday.

The factory, that was temporarily closed early this month for lack of cane to crush, failed to pay farmers for their deliveries after facing financial challenges.

Speaking at Nzoia Sugar company grounds, Mr Bett said most sugar factories are facing challenges because of poor management.

The government, he said will revive all the factories that have collapsed and help those struggling to get back on their feet.

He, however, warned that it is not the business of the government to be always running to the rescue of failing firms saying those in charge will be taken to task.

“We know that the productivity of cane has not been good hence the losses but we won’t accept excuses on why farmers should not be paid,” he said.

The CS said the collapse of sugar factories will hurt employees and farmers.

Mr Bett noted that the millers’ production, that currently stands at 2,000 metric tonnes daily, should be increased to 4,000 metric tonnes to satisfy the local market.

Mr Bett also told the factories to stop poaching cane from each other.

“Nzoia Sugar Company is suffering because other neighbouring firms have been poaching their cane, this should stop. It is expensive to develop cane... those found perpetrating the vice will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.

Mr Bett was accompanied by Industrialisation secretary Adan Mohammed, Water CS Eugene Wamalwa and Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had a month ago promised funds to help pay more than 6,700 cane farmers a total of Sh263 million.