A section of sugarcane farmers allied to Nzoia sugar company is demanding investigations into a fire incident that destroyed property worth Sh12 million at the factory Thursday evening.
The farmers claimed the incident could be an in-house job disguised as an accident so that the management could find an excuse not to clear millions of shillings owed to farmers who had delivered raw materials to the factory earlier.
“We would like security agencies to investigate the incident and give a report over what could have transpired because we have reservations over the explanation given by the management concerning the inferno,” said Pius Wafula, one of the farmers from Bumula constituency.
Nzoia sugar managing director Wanjala Makokha had earlier indicated that the fire was started by a hot steam pipe that ignited bagasse at the mill turbine before spreading through the electric cables affecting another mill turbine and the bagasse rubber conveyor belt.
It took the intervention of firefighters from Bungoma County to put out the fire.
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The factory had resumed crushing barely a week before the fire incident. Mr Makokha allayed fears that the Sugar mill could close down as a result of the fire incident.
“We want to assure stakeholders that our engineers have put all the necessary measures in place for repairs so that we can resume operations next week Wednesday,” said Makokha.
The management earlier confirmed that it owes contracted farmers Sh113 million for cane deliveries made in 2019.
Mr Makokha announced recently that they were working on a realistic payment plan that will help them clear the arrears and make payments.
According to him, payments would be made on Tuesdays and Fridays to fast track the process.