State plan to enforce cane zoning splits leaders

A proposal to introduce zoning for cane farmers has sharply divided lawmakers from the sugar-belt region.

Members of Parliament Tindi Mwale (Butere) and Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) yesterday expressed their reservations about the Ministry of Agriculture's plan that is aimed at taming cane poaching.

Mr Mwale (pictured) told The Standard that the plan would affect farmers in areas where millers were struggling to stay afloat, adding that they should be left to choose where they want to take their cane.

“Zoning will be counter-productive for our hardworking farmers. Farmers in areas where millers are grappling with financial challenges will be grossly disadvantaged as they will supply their produce and wait for ages before they are paid their dues."

The MPs called for protection of farmers.

“There should be an agreement between the different cane millers that if one of them fails to operate because of one reason or the other, the innocent farmers  will not suffer," said Mr Barasa.

But Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) argued that zoning was the only way to save ailing State-owned sugar factories.

“This is the best way to go and one that will restore order in the sugar sector. We have new factories in this country whose success is attributed to cane poaching, which is very wrong,” said Mr Wanyama.

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sugar cane farmerssugar cane zoning