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Sugar task force member disowns report, citing manipulation

 Mwangi Kiunjuri
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A member of the government task force on sugarcane has disowned the draft document, accusing his counterparts of manipulating the report which is to be submitted to President Uhuru Kenyatta next week.

According to Mr Francis Waswa who was the sole representative of farmers, the Crops (Sugar) General Regulations 2018 has been edited to bring back the contentious issues.

Citing the introduction of zoning, he pointed out that the move goes against the interest of majority of farmers who presented their views through memoranda and public participation meetings.

“Whereas I admit that I personally supported the reintroduction of sugar zones, the truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of cane farmers are opposed to this and this fact has not been acknowledged in the edited report,” said Mr Waswa.

“As the sole representative of the farmers, my conscience cannot allow me to keep silent in the face of a brazen attempt to misrepresent the views of farmers that I have successfully persuaded the taskforce to consider and accommodate,” he added.

In a protest letter to co-chairs, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Mr Waswa pointed out that the team has brought back the same old draft that they attempted to change.

“The document has contentious issues that are not acceptable to the farmers and sugar millers and yet it is apparently being prepared for gazettement as it is,” noted part of the letter also copied to President Kenyatta. He noted that the report of the taskforce has given over 10 million Kenyans who are direct dependents and beneficiaries of the sugar sector a raw deal and that they are being taken for a ride. “There is no input of the high level discussions at the Windsor Golf and Country Club as well as throughout public participation meetings in the sugar belt and political leaders’ meetings at Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu,” said Mr Waswa.

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