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Mumias Sugar Company and Nzoia Sugar Company hit by cane poaching, says union official

By Titus Oteba | June 28th 2016
National Chairman, Kenya Union of Sugar plantation and allied workers (Kuspow) Mackdonald Wamacho. He blames West Kenya Sugar Company for poaching cane owned by Mumias and Nzoia sugar companies. (PHOTO: TITUS OTEBA/STANDARD) 

Cane poaching has yet again been cited as a hindrance to productivity at Nzoia and Mumias sugar companies.

A Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers (Kuspaw) official warned that if the trend continues, the two sugar mills will be faced with an acute shortage of raw materials.

Speaking yesterday during the Nzoia Sugar corporate day, Kuspaw National Chairman Macdonald Wamacho said cane poaching was a serious problem that must be addressed urgently.

“Nzoia Sugar Company has the largest nucleus of its own while Mumias has many registered farmers who have been supplied with both seedlings and fertiliser. The farmers need to repay the inputs but if another milling plant is allowed to invade and take their cane, then the firms will never be able to recover their money,” said Mr Wamacho.

Be patient

He said farmers were selling their mature cane to poachers at throwaway prices.

“Our registered farmers should stop selling their cane cheaply. They should allow registered firms to harvest them so that they are well paid,” he said.

Wamacho, who is also the Nzoia Sugar Company Workers Union secretary, pointed out that some new sugar companies were yet to establish farms and they end up poaching from farmers contracted by established milling plants.

“It took time for the established milling plants to have enough raw materials. Let others also have their own so that they can reduce the infighting over the raw materials,” he said.

Nzoia Sugar Managing Director Godfrey Wanyonyi said they had paid over Sh100 million to farmers by mid April and called on others to be patient as the firm was working towards clearing debts.

“Be patient as we strive day and night to ensure you receive your pay on time. We adore you and that is why we will make sure that your pay is processed on time. Support us and we will deliver,” he urged farmers.

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