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Businesses, farmers feel pinch of Kibos Sugar closure

BUSINESS
By Nikko Tanui | March 10th 2020

 

Farmers in Kericho County are at risk of losing sugarcane worth Sh10M after National Environment Management Authority (Nema) shut down Kibos and Allied Sugar Company in Kisumu County over pollution.

A spot check by the Standard at Kipsitet weighbridge discovered tens of grounded tractors loaded with recently harvested sugarcane. 

Soin Sugarcane Farmers’ Association chairman Jonathan Langat said they were stuck with over 4, 000 tons of sugarcane since the closure of the factory located in the neighbouring Kisumu county. 

"The government should listen to our pleas and immediately reverse the decision to close down Kibos and Allied Sugar Company lest we as farmers lose millions of shillings. Sugarcane is now just lying at the weigh bridge," he said. 

Langat who has been exclusively relying on sugarcane farming since 1972 claims that the closure of the factory goes against Jubilee government’s industrialisation agenda.

The farmer claimed that the punitive decision to close down the sugar factory was part of a sugar cartels scheme to open the gates for sugar importation. 

“We also want the scrapping of sugarcane zoning since we are in a liberalised economy," he said. 

Cyrus Karan, a casual tractor driver lamented that the closure of the factory will ultimately slash his wages

“We have been idle for days. The government is spoiling things for us. The sugar company is a major employer in the region for thousands of youths like me. If the situation remains this way for a few more days who is going to pay me," he said. 

David Kiplangat, an M-Pesa operator at Kipsitet trading center said the sugar factory's closure had affected business transactions. 

"We have begun feeling the pinch of the business closure. There is no money being pumped in the local economy," he said. 

But Nema's Director-General Mamo Boru Mamo said the decision was taken after the company defied air quality regulations of 2014 and failed to comply with other orders.

The factory was given 30 days to install the system.

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