Cane farmers ask MPs not to reject new sugar reforms

A farmers lobby wants Members of Parliament from Sugar growing areas to reject the nullification of the Sugar Regulation Policy that is set to be discussed in parliament today.

Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane Farmers Organisations (KNASFO) Chairman Saul Busolo, in a statement, said the annulment of the Sugar Regulation Policy is being driven by the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Senate, terming the lawmakers a threat to the sugar cane industry.

This comes barely a month after 6,000 Sugarcane farmers from various associations signed a petition to the Senate, supporting Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya's gazettement of the regulations. The farmers, in their petition to the Senate asked the CoG not to interfere with CS Munya’s reform agenda in the sugar sector.

Mr Busolo said the sector has become a fault-line running through the CoG, Senate Agriculture Committees and Kilimo House. “It is now a political weapon of the political class to fight Agriculture CS’ reform agenda in the sub-sector,” said Busolo

CS Munya’s gazettement of sugar regulations paves way for the leasing of State-owned millers. The CoG and Senate, in a recent meeting, rejected the regulations, citing lack of compliance with the constitution.

Busolo said such move dampens investments in the sub-sector. “In the case of The Crops (Sugar) (General) Regulations 2020, that means rejection of weekly payments, contractual farming, negotiations about the pricing of cane in which even the CoG is a member,” he noted.

He said CoG and Senate have not met stakeholders in the sugar industry to discuss the issue.

Mr Busolo noted that key private sector players who supply 92 per cent of the raw materials to sugar factories support the regulations.  

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