Sugarcane growers have opposed plan by the ministry of agriculture to have them contracted to particular millers. Kenya sugar cane growers association KESGA and a section of millers termed the move outdated and will only oppress the industry with miller’s oppression to farmers becoming a norm.

Kenya sugarcane growers Chairman Samuel Ong’ow said the proposal by the minister is outdated and will only suppress the industry further instead of making it competitive. “Farmers should be free to determine and review their contracts in favour of highest paying factory”, said Kesga Chairman.

He said, the Kenyan market should be liberal with no farmers being forced to take his cane to a miller saying that will revive the old culture where miller left the cane to rot in the field and late harvesting since farmer will have no option after contracting. “Millers will be oppressing farmers as they have been doing, this will demoralise them and make them shun the farming altogether, everything should free for farmer to chose the best buyer”, said.

Ong’ow said, instead of subjecting farmers to contract the ministry should come up with ways of reviving dying Government millers. A director of privately owned mill who spoke in condition of anonymity also dismissed the proposal saying it is detrimental to the industry as incompetent millers will take advantage of cane in the reserve to oppress farmers.

He said farmers should be left to take their cane where they are well paid instead of subjecting to contract saying the law will only be viable if there is a fixed price for cane. “Differences in cane prices is likely to undermine the proposal unless the Government make a fixed rate for cane under the contract”, he said.

Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei proposed in an amendment that is awaiting parliamentary approval that farmer, either individually or through outgrower bodies, be assigned registration numbers after which they can choose who to supply the cane to and a contract drawn.

According to the minister the proposed bill will enhance both stability in cane prices and adequate supply of cane for crushing by the manufacturers by reducing cane poaching which has been enhanced by the shortage of cane.

The shortage of cane has been worsen by the licensing of three new millers in a span of two without adequate nuclear for their factories making them encroach on other millers cane. The proposal has received support from giant millers and Government millers who are likely to rescued from poaching by the new entrants who are suing price might to lure farmers.



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