Bittersweet business rivalry
23 August 2012, 11:01
Business rivalry between Mumias and West Kenya Sugar Companies emerged yesterday when a convoy of eight sugarcane trucks belonging to West Kenya was stoned at Mayoni Market in Mumias town.
According to one of the truck drivers Humphrey Muluhya, tension brewed from Tuesday after rumors had spread that goons had been hired to force them to take the sugar cane to Mumias Sugar Company instead of West Kenya.
They requested for security from the police who escorted them from Busia but were overpowered by the goons when they reached at River Nzoia Bridge.
“They blocked the road with big stones and even parked a Nissan across the road, but we managed to pass through a trench,” said Muluhya.
According to West Kenya Company advocate Raymond Olendo, the sugarcane that was being transported had been bought from private farmers in Busia and not from Mumias Sugar farmers. “The competitors are trying to frustrate our business because they have lost out,” said Mr. Olendo.
He said that the case of sugarcane poaching was before the court and their competitors should have waited for the ruling instead of stoning their trucks.
Mumias Sugar Company Public Affairs and Communication Officer Athman Wangara told the press that, they will not allow companies that have not invested in cane development to harvest sugarcane in any region.
“We invest close to KES 3 billion every year in sugarcane development and our neighboring millers are carrying out bad trading habits and as a company we are not going to condone this, if this habit goes on then business will not be as usual,” said Wangara.
He said that they have been supporting farmers in Busia by providing credit services. “We have been assisting them to prepare land, provided them with seed cane and fertilizers and other extension services, that has some cost implications but other millers are harvesting the sugarcane in the area cheating farmers that they are paying slightly more than what Mumias pays,” Wangara said.
He said that he was even shocked to see the sugarcane trucks being provided with police security from Tanga Corner loading station all the way to West Kenya Sugar Company and appealed to all the stakeholders in the sugarcane sector to quickly look into the matter and stop sugarcane poaching in the regions that Mumias Sugar has deeply invested in sugarcane development.
The trucks were later parked at Kakamega Provincial Headquarters with West Kenya demanding compensation from their rivals for the loss they incurred as a result of the incidence.
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