KAKAMEGA, KENYA: Sugarcane farmers allied to Mumias Sugar Company now want the miller to stop selling its cane to rivals.
Farmers in the region are optimistic that the current receiver-manager Ponangipalli Venkata Ramana Rao will help revive the company only if he can invest more in cane development and stopping the sale of mature cane to neighboring millers.
The demand comes after the resumption of milling at the once giant company was put on track by recent planting of over 700 acres of cane in its nucleus estate.
But farmers are calling on the receiver-manager to ensure that the cane is not sold to other millers when it matures.
Last year the miller's management announced they were selling mature sugarcane on the firm's nucleus estate to its rivals.
The neighbouring Busia Sugar Industry (BSI) and Nzoia Sugar Company were the major buyers of sugarcane from Mumias.
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The farmers led by Peter Salasia said they will support the receiver-manager in his efforts but cautioned against the sale of sugarcane.
"Our miller has been too brotherly to our rivals around but we need to stop any sale of sugarcane and now concentrate on our own revival," said Salasia.
The farmers now feel with the current cane development being done at the nucleus estate they too can get back to sugarcane farming.
Mumias has not milled for over 18 months due to factors like lack of raw materials.
If well maintained the over 8000 acres of nucleus estate would help supply enough raw material to the millers.
Kakamega county government under Governor Wycliffe Oparanya had set aside Sh100 million for cane development in the Mumias sugar belt and its environs to boost ongoing efforts of reviving the struggling miller.
The money was factored in the 2020/2021 budget and will be a revolving fund and given out as loans to cane farmers to boost production.