Counties in Western Kenya have been collecting millions of shillings from local sugar factories as cess (tax confined to a local area for a specified object or a particular purpose).
West Kenya Sugar Company alone had remitted Sh244.14 million in levies to counties in Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley where the sugar mill has contracted farmers.
Statistics released by the sugar company during the ongoing two-day sugar conference at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega town on Saturday shows Bungoma and Kakamega counties collected the highest amounts of money in cess between 2021 and 2023, shortly before sugar factories were closed.
In 2021, Bungoma County received Sh21.17 million. The figure soared to Sh42.98 million in 2022 and this year, West Kenya remitted Sh15.86 million to the devolved unit.
Kakamega collected Sh30.80 million in 2021 with the amount rising to Sh46.10 million in 2022.
The county received Sh15.56 million this year as cess.
In total, West Kenya has recruited 73,221 farmers in Kakamega County alone and another 9,572 farmers in Bungoma County.
Nandi County, where farmers are gradually venturing into sugarcane farming had collected Sh24.42 million between 2021 and 2023. Busia received Sh23.22 million, Trans Nzoia Sh19.86 million, and Uasin Gishu got Sh4.17 million.
According to the statistics, Nandi has 7,121 registered farmers against 3,194 hectares under sugarcane, Trans Nzoia has 13 farmers growing sugarcane on 171 hectares of land while Uasin Gishu has 1,885 hectares of land under sugarcane with 1,531 registered farmers.
Bungoma and Kakamega boast 4,807 hectares and 37,520 hectares of land under sugarcane respectively according to the statistics.
The Kakamega North-based sugar factory has 4, 880 employees working at its factories namely Olepito in Busia, Naitiri in Bungoma and Kabras Sugar in Malava constituency.