The management of West Kenya’s Olepito Sugar Factory has denied claims of importing sugarcane from Uganda.
Despite having been given the green light by Agricultural Food Authority (AFA) to outsource raw materials from across the border last August, General Manager Gerald Okoth said the company found it more expensive to do so.
Okoth spoke just a day after angry farmers threatened to block entry of sugarcane from Uganda.
He said excessive importation of cane was affecting the operations of the factory located in Teso South, Busia County.
“We have done robust cane-development and that is why AFA ranked us high. The factory has not received complaints from contracted farmers over delayed cane collection from the farm,” Okoth said.
Research conducted by AFA between December 9 and 22, 2019 showed that between December 2019 and June 2020, about 3.4 million tonnes of sugarcane was to be available for crushing against the required 5.7 million tonnes.
The same statistics show that in the 2020-21 financial year, a deficit of 3.2 million tonnes will be recorded since only 6.8 million tonnes will be available against a demand of 9.9 million tonnes.
The survey showed that West Kenya and Olepito Sugar factories were guaranteed of sufficient sugarcane for crushing as they did enough cane development.
Other factories sampled are Chemelil, Muhoroni, Mumias, Nzoia, South Nyanza, Kibos, Soin, Butali, Miwani, Sukari, Transmara, Kwale and Busia Sugar.
West Kenya has the highest number of hectares (85,000) under cane farming spread across Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kakamega and Bungoma counties.
It is followed by Nzoia Sugar with 38,230 hectares. Mumias has only 15,000, Chemelil 34,000, Butali (30,000) and Busia Sugar (31,000).