By Philip Mwakio and Patrick Beja
President Kibaki has commended the management of Kwale International Sugar Company Limited (Kiscol) for spearheading the revival of the sugarcane growing at the Coast.
Kibaki said Kiscol would start production in March next year. It is the first sugarcane-growing firm to use the highly mechanised drip irrigation for tending cane in Kenya. Kiscol took over the defunct Ramisi Sugar Factory and is putting up a state-of-the-art milling plant in Ramisi at a cost of Sh18 billion ($180 million). The Head of State made the remarks in Mombasa while officiating at the opening of this year’s Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) Mombasa International show.
“ There is great potential for sugar industries in the region. I am pleased that Kwale International Sugar Company will start producing sugar by March next year. When fully operational, it will employ up to 3,000 people directly and another 11,500 indirectly, the Head of State said. Kibaki said the Government has singled out agriculture as one of the key sectors that will drive the growth of Kenya’s economy.
“For this reason, we have consistently increased budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector. In the current financial year, Sh104 billion, which is about seven per cent of the national budget, has been allocated to the sector in support of recurrent and development expenditure,’’ Kibaki said.
He assured Kiscol of the Government’s support in the cane-growing venture. Kiscol early last year entered into partnership with leading Mauritian sugar producers, Omnicane, who have acquired 20 per cent of the total shareholding.
Kiscol said in an earlier statement that 50 per cent of the total cost of putting up the milling plant has been raised through debt while equity from foreign and local investors make up the rest.
Once fully operational, the Mill plant will have a daily crushing capacity of 3,000 tonnes, which will eventually be increased to 5,000 tonnes per day.