• May 22, 2024
  • Last Update May 22, 2024 11:25 AM
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Nandi cane farmers reject sugar zoning bill

Nandi cane farmers reject sugar zoning bill

Kapsabet,

Wednesday 10th, April 2024,

KNA by Linet Wafula

Cane farmers and leaders from Nandi County have opposed zoning of sugar catchment areas as proposed in the Sugar Bill 2022Zoning rules compel growers to sell cane to a miller operating within their regions rather than seek better prices elsewhere.

Nandi County Women Representative Mrs Cynthia Muge said farmers should be left to sell cane to millers of their choice who offer them better prices and pay promptly.

Speaking in her office at Kapsabet town after meeting with farmers and various stakeholders, Muge said farmers should not be restricted to specific miller’s.

“We want our farmers to be at liberty to sell their cane to the best miller with good pay and in good time in order to reap maximum benefits from their investment,” she saidPart of the report have recommended setting up of five zones across the country where farmers will be compelled to sell their produce to millers within these areas.

The proposed zoning bill aims to merge Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Kericho Counties into a single zone where farmers will be compelled to transport their sugarcane to West Valley Cane Factory in Kericho which is over 130km away while there is a more accessible option, Kibos Sugar Factory which is 30km. Nandi and Uasin Gishu have no sugar milling factory.

Among other proposals, the Sugar Bill 2022 is seeking to establish a sugar body to solely manage sugar affairs in the country as opposed to generalizing the sugar sub sector under Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA)The Bill is also proposing the establishment of a Sugar Arbitration Tribunal for the purpose of arbitrating disputes and will be headed by a person qualified to be a High Court Judge.

It also has the component of the establishment Kenya Sugar Research Training Institute to regulate research work in the sector and also curb sugarcane poaching.

The Women Representative noted that the bill oppresses cane farmers in the region calling on the Senate Committee on Agriculture to either pass the bill with amendment or reject it in totality.

“We want a free market and competition because it will improve the sector in terms of prices per tonne and farmers will benefit a lot,” she said calling on the committee to borrow heavily from the report prepared by former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

Farmers present said they want to be free to sell their cane to the miller that offer them good prices adding that transporting sugarcane from Nandi to Kericho will be expensive.

Courtesy; KNA

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