Cane farmers up in arms over new zoning plan

A section of cane farmers has expressed outrage against the re-introduction of cane zoning by the Sugar Task Force.

The farmers’ privy to the final draft Report were surprised to find that the final document again factored in cane zoning, which they had vehemently rejected at previous countrywide hearings.

On Wednesday, Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane farmers, (Knasfo), Chairman and former MP Saul Busolo wondered why the amendments were not implemented as earlier agreed on.

In addition, Kenya national sugarcane growers union, (Kesga), secretary-general Richard Ogendo also told Standard in Kisumu that they were surprised with the Zoning move.

''The Sugar industry is currently at cross roads. Cane production has increased tremendously over the last three years. Where will farmers take excess cane?'', he posed.

Kenya Sugarcane and Allied Products and the Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association Chairman Mr. Charles Atyang also weighed in asking what happened to their demand.

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''We were optimistic the Sugar Task Force Report would boost prospects in the industry, but what we have seen as the final draft has left out some of our wishes,'' claimed Atyang.

Like Busolo, Atyang and Ogendo claimed that reintroducing zoning would defy the essence of a liberalised market economy.

''We agreed that cane farmers should be allowed to deliver their produce where they feel they will get good value in return,'' claimed Busolo.

Given that some of the current state-owned millers were not paying cane farmers promptly for cane delivered, the farmers cannot be restricted to one market.

''To this extent liberalization in emerging markets provides new opportunities for sugarcane investors to increase their diversification and profit,” argued Busolo.

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