By Renson Bumula
Farmers in Busia County have called for an end to the wrangles pitting Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) and West Kenya Company over cane zones.
Led by Steven Omuse, chairman of Busia Out-growers Company, the farmers said the matter was threatening to get out of hand.
“Our expectation was to have a sugar factory, which we hoped would go a long way in addressing the problems facing cane farmers,” said Omuse.
Whereas some farmers point accusing fingers at the two milling companies, others blamed corruption at the Kenya Sugar Board for the mess.
“Weak laws in the sugar sector, which do not prohibit people setting up weighbridges anywhere has encouraged stealing of cane and created a lot of suspicion among farmers and milling companies,” said Joseph Barasa, a farmer.
But even as the groups continue to trade accusations, some farmers want the two companies to stop their operations in the area until a solution is reached.
But this was dismissed by MSC Managing Director Peter Kebati, who said his company had contracted thousands of farmers who were obliged to honour their part.
“We cannot stop our operations in Busia sugar zone because we have contracted farmers,” said Kebati.
He said MSC would compensate any farmer who can prove that the company was involved in theft.
In a meeting with stakeholders to resolve the problem, Nambale DC Francis Olenyangume said sanity needed to be restored in the sector.