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Cane farmers want factory revived

08 January 2013, 12:25 Oduor Omondi

Miwani Sugar Factory has called upon the Government to consider reviving the factory for the benefit of cane farmers in the area.

According to the Miwani Sugar Cane Farmers chairman Samuel Onyango, the zone has a number of canes that have overstayed in the cane farms due to shortage of millers.

“Many plantations have taken 34 months instead of the recommended 18 months to harvest, making farmers undergo a lot of suffering,” he said.

Onyango said that first time farmers in the region sought help from him after Kibos Sugar Factory, with which he signed a contract, decided to leave over 60 tones of harvested cane to go to waste.

He noted that the farmers have invested heavily in the business by planting cane in larger plantations of land, but are now feeling demoralised considering that the plant has taken long in the field.

He also pointed out that China Agricultural Contractors (the transporting company) has refused to deliver mature canes to the factory.

To this end, the zone chairman has asked the managing director of Kibos Millers to compensate affected farmers, arguing that authority to harvest the cane was issued but the transport manager deliberately left the cane to go to waste as he went for Christmas celebrations.

He appealed to managing director West Kenya Sugar Company to continue harvesting cane from the zone, adding that any other factory willing to cater for transport cost and pay farmers their dues is welcome to Miwani.

Onyango further urged the Kenya Sugar Board to facilitate the revival of Miwani Sugar Factory, adding that the farmers have already identified a new investor (Eagle Fin Company Mauritius Limited) who is willing to build a new factory with 51% share holdings to farmers for free.

He asked the Government to support the move between the farmers and the investor as it aims towards poverty reduction within the zone that has suffered drawbacks after Miwani Sugar factory closed down 12 years ago.

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