CORD leaders to engage farmers in understanding Kenya-Uganda sugar deal

NAIROBI, KENYA: A lot has been said with regard to the Sugar Deal that was signed between the Kenyan and Ugandan government during the State visit to Uganda by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Whereas the President himself appeared to admit the deal was signed to allow importation of sugar from Uganda at subsidized prices effectively killing the local sugar industry, some Cabinet Secretaries led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Cabinet Amb. Amina Mohammed came out to refute the claims saying no deal was signed in Uganda.
However, there have been reports quoting the leadership of the government of Uganda to the effect that the deal was signed, the recent one being President Yoweri Museveni himself who urged the Kenyan government to expedite the implementation of the Sugar Deal. Last week, Uganda’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Oryem Henry Okello admitted that the deal was indeed signed and that Kenya was to receive about 97,000MT of sugar.
The reason given for the signing of the deal was that Uganda has a surplus of sugar produced locally and that under the COMESA safeguards on the exportation of sugar, it had enough to export to Kenya.
Pundits have however pointed out through figures how Uganda’s sugar production is not even enough for local consumption hence no surplus of the commodity as claimed in the said deal.
The opposition in Kenya has been on the forefront in pointing an accusing finger at the Jubilee government for trying to import cheap sugar into the country through dubious means with the aim of flooding the local market with cheap sugar which in the end will bring the local sugar industry to its knees.
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) says, they will not sit down and look as the local sugarcane farmer is disadvantaged through such deals. In Kenya, over 500,000 people do sugarcane farming while close to 6 million people derive their livelihood directly or indirectly through the sugar industry. We cannot let these people down.
It is with this background that the CORD leadership has from last week launched an awareness campaign with sugarcane farmers with the aim of educating them on their rights and how the sugar deal, if implemented would affect their livelihood. Last Friday, ODM leader Mr. Raila Odinga was in Busia and Chemelil areas where he engaged farmers in consultative forums.
This weekend, the entire CORD brigade heads to the hotbed of sugar in Kenya (Kakamega and Bungoma), to talk to farmers and listen to them. The country’s largest sugar milling factory (Mumias Sugar Company) is situated in Kakamega County while Nzoia Sugar Company is in Bungoma County. There are other smaller companies like Kabras Millers and Butali Sugar Factory which are in Kakamega County.
On the morning of Saturday (29th August), the team will tour Bungoma County where they will hold consultative forums with sugarcane farmers and get to listen to their plight and later address them in Bungoma town.
From there, the team which will be led by CORD principals Mr. Raila Odinga, Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr. Moses Wetang’ula will drive to Kakamega through Mumias town where they will talk to the farmers and later head to Kakamega town for a major consultative forum.
The CORD team will talk to the farmers on the provisions of sugar exportation by COMESA countries as embedded in the COMESA treaty and why some top officials in the Jubilee government are advancing personal interests at the expense of local farmers.
The CORD leaders will speak out openly against this Sugar Deal that has made Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni go wild and start hurling insults directed at the ODM/CORD leader Mr. Odinga. CORD shall not be intimidated by such antics. They shall stand with the farmer.

Phil Etale is the Director of Communications – ODM

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