Cane farmers blame losses on constant breakdown at Transmara factory

Sugarcane farmers in Transmara demonstrate over the grounding of operations of Transmara Sugar Company in Enoosaen. [File, Standard]

More than 10,000 Cane growers have blamed lapse in operations at Transmara Sugar Company for the delayed cane harvesting which has resulted in huge losses.

The farmers now want the Kilgoris-based factory to Company to allow them to sell their mature crop to other millers after a 28-month wait.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (KNFSF) Transmara Branch Chairman Stephen ole Narupa blamed the factory for constant breakdowns due to failure to conduct factory maintenance in the past few years.

“The firm should now let farmers whose canes are ready for harvesting to sell them to other millers who are ready to buy the ready cane,” he said.

Narupa said close to 15,000 tonnes of ready cane are lying in various fields and the factory yards awaiting to be crushed.

“It is painful for farmers to watch as their cane rot in the farms without any communication from the miller,” said Narupa.

He urged the factory to hire competent individuals who can run the company and are able to consult farmers. 

Transmara Factory chief executive Frederick North Coombes, however, asked farmers to be patient as the factory tries to resolve the challenges.

“The management is taking all measures to address the recent breakdowns that have affected harvesting as well as sugar production,” said Coombes said in May.

Combees also blamed the above-normal rainfall recorded this year for affecting the company’s operations, leading to huge losses.

“Excess rainfall has increased equipment breakdowns due to road damages while increased moisture content and mud has reduced sugar production in the factory,” he said.