Sugarcane farmer to reward President Uhuru Kenyatta for reviving Mumias

Mumias farmer Asman Ogoti packing cane at Mayala village in Mumias East on November 26, 2017. Ogoti will  present the cane to President Uhuru Kenyatta to thank him for reviving Mumias Sugar factory. [Photo/Benjamin Sakwa/Standard]

Asman Ogoti, a cane farmer contracted by Mumias Sugar Company, is set to gift President Uhuru Kenyatta with pieces of sugar cane as a reward for his efforts to revive the milling giant.

He said the sugarcane reward was the only gift he could raise to reward the Head of State.

“The only gift I can afford are these pieces of cane. We are grateful that cane farming is now profitable, thanks to his (President Uhuru) efforts,” said Ogoti.

The 40-year-old man said his journey to attend President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration will start today (Monday) evening on his bicycle to Mumias town where he will board a Climax bus for Nairobi.

He said even although it would be his first time to Nairobi, his friends had informed him that he should alight at the Country Bus stage in Nairobi.

“I will then link up with one of my relatives to take me to the event. I have confidence that I will reach him (Uhuru) and present my gift,” he said.

The Standard caught up with him at his Mayala home in Mumias while making final preparations for the journey.

According to him, he had uprooted cane from hisland due to lack of payment but after the Government bailed out the company, he was now benefiting from cane farming.

The State has so far injected Sh3.7 billion into the cash-strapped Mumias Sugar Company, which was on the verge of closure after it failed to meet its financial obligations.

In July, President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto delivered a Sh500 million cheque to pay farmers and the cash was partly used for maintenance of the factory.

The miller which reopened a month ago after eight months of closure is now crushing cane and has changed its marketing strategy to persuade more farmers to plant cane.

The company now pays farmers within seven days of delivering their cane to the factory, a strategy that is working well for the miller.

“Farmers are our key stakeholders, we are now paying them on time so that we can win back their trust to supply cane to Mumias. With the new management , I have confidence the company will be back on its feet again,” said Kenneth Mulwa, the company’s board chairman.

New variety

Farmers have re-embraced cane farming and are planting a new variety that matures within 12 months of planting.

Mumias Sugar has been struggling to have a sustainable and profitable strategy by reviewing the way it does business.

Leaders from the region have also vowed to work together to ensure revival of the company, which serves as the backbone of the region’s economy.

“Our target is reviving the company. We encourage farmers to plant more cane to boost their supply. Personally I have planted 14 acres of cane to be supplied to Mumias,” said Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.