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Cane shortage pushes miller to fire over 500 staff

By Ignatius Odanga | July 27th 2020

The management of Busia Sugar Industry has issued a notice to fire staff following ban on cane importation from Uganda.

The sacking, according to the management, has been occasioned by inadequate cane supply, which has affected the operations of the factory.

Following shortage of cane in the country, sugar factories had resorted to sourcing for cane from Ugandan farmers who have surplus.

The Ministry of Agriculture issued the factory with a permit in November 2018 following an order from Deputy President William Ruto.

After receiving the licence, the management embarked on recruitment of locals in different departments.

On Wednesday, a notice issued by management to its staff read in part: “This is to notify that due to shortage of raw material, the management of the Busia Sugar Industry Ltd has decided to declare some of its staff redundant.”

A director at the miller, Shaban Wandera, confided in The Standard yesterday that over 500 employees are likely to go home.

Recently, the factory’s Managing Director Ali Taib questioned why the Government opted to ban the raw materials from Uganda.

Mr Taib appealed to Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya to rescind the decision to ban the importation of cane.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), in its letter dated March 30, 2020, allowed Busia Sugar to import raw materials from Uganda for three months. The letter was signed by the Sugar Directorate interim head Solomon Odera.

“We write with regard to your company registering interest in importing excess sugarcane from Ugandan farmers for temporary period due to the current cane shortage being experienced in Kenya. This to inform you that the authority has no objection on the same,” the AFA’s letter read in part.

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