A sugar mill in Kakamega, western Kenya. Construction work on the planned Sh16 billion integrated sugar mill near Mombasa will begin next month, with its products expected in the market within one year.

Construction work on the planned Sh16 billion integrated sugar mill near Mombasa will begin next month, with its products expected in the market within one year.

The plant’s owners said the factory will crush 3,000 tonnes of cane per day. It will also have a 30,000 litre- ethanol production plant and host an 18 megawatt power plant run on baggasse.

“We plan to kick off construction by end of October and roll out the first batch of products by October next year,” said Hashil Kotecha, an official of the Kwale International Sugar Company Limited (Kiscol), which is sponsoring the project.

Listed Mauritian sugar producer Omnicane will manage cane development programmes and day-to-day operations of the factory as part of its partnership agreement with Kiscol.

“Omnicane have come in as our management partners and will hold a 20 per cent stake in the joint venture. The rest of the stake will stay with us (Kiscol),” Mr Kotecha said. “We hope to tap into their expertise and management skills from their operations elsewhere.”

The sugar industry in Omnicane’s home country, Mauritius, is highly competitive due to use of modern technology used in production and the firm is expected to replicate this model locally.

Analysts said in addition to agricultural management, the development of a new sugar factory, such the one targeted by Kiscol, requires extensive research inputs in connection with seed material acquisition, agronomy, pest management, tillage and irrigation systems — all of which call for experienced managers.

The government employed a similar model to set up Mumias Sugar Company when it tapped the services of Britain’s Booker Tate in 1967 to offer management expertise.

Booker Tate has a rich history in the establishment of greenfield sugarcane plantations and outgrower operations, both rain-fed and irrigated since 1960 in countries such as Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Papua New Guinea and Zambia.

Its role in Mumias culminated in a 5,000-hactare nucleus estate and nearly 40,000 small farmers supplying sugarcane to produce over 220,000 tonnes of sugar per year. This firm foundation has given Mumias an edge in the industry to date.

source: businessdailyafrica

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