Sugarcane farmers contracted by Nzoia Sugar Company have protested delayed payment after delivery of cane.

The farmers are demanding payment for cane delivered to the miller between May and July. Others claim the miller owes them since 2017.

“Nzoia Sugar Company harvested our cane in June and to date we have not received our money. We have tried reaching the MD but he has been evading us. This is very unfair and the only option remaining is to seek alternative ways in order to get paid,” said Kennedy Kibeti, a farmer.

Kibeti said when the new management took over in July last year, they promised to ensure timely payment for cane delivery, but this has not happened. 

“What we want is our money and going forward we won’t allow anyone to harvest our cane unless we are paid first. We have school fees to pay and families that depend on us and yet they are holding our money. We want to know why they delay to pay us and yet the factory is running normally,” he said.

Emily Mulongo’s cane was harvested in July and she is yet to receive her dues.

“We were coerced to plant cane in the nuclears owned by the company in order to put the factory back in operation and we obliged. We were told to stop taking our cane to rival millers after being promised that we will be paid on time, but that has not happened,” said Mulongo.

Nzoia Sugar MD Michael Makokha blamed delayed payment of farmers on deductions by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

“KRA deducted Sh20 million from the account without even informing us and this was the money meant to pay cane farmers. I'm working round the clock to see to it that we pay farmers and they should be just a little patient as I sort out their issues. I can assure them that they will get paid soon,” said Makokha.

When contacted, KRA stated that it was bound by law not to reveal tax affairs of an individual or company unless it was a case under investigation. 

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