KENYA – The Mumias Sugar Company marked a significant milestone on Friday as it reopened its doors to receive cane from farmers, signalling the commencement of operations in the once-thriving miller.  

The move follows a strategic revival effort to breathe life back into the company that had faced financial challenges in recent years. 

In the next two weeks, the company plans to release sugar into the market, subject to compliance tests by various agencies, including the Kenya Bureau of Standards.  

The management said it has already recalled 787 former employees, with additional staff expected to join, particularly in the sugar packing area.  

Stephen Kihumba, the manager in charge of operations and administration, revealed plans to engage more former employees on a need basis, with opportunities anticipated in the Cogen and Ethanol plant. 

Kihumba assured farmers that the miller would promptly pay for the cane supplied, emphasizing Mumias Sugar Company as a promising entity to watch.  

He encouraged farmers to plant sugarcane and emphasized harvesting mature cane, which has reached 16 months, to maximize benefits in terms of weight and sucrose content. 

Setting the price for a tonne of sugarcane at Kes6,050 (US$39.5), Mumias Sugar Company’s pricing strategy has prompted other millers to adjust their prices, ultimately benefiting farmers.  

The Agricultural and Food Authority has directed the company to crush 2,500 tons of sugarcane per day for the next two months, after which further capacity decisions will be made based on regional surveys. 

The miller, operating in the lower Kakamega region alongside Kibos Sugar Company and Olepito, aims to support local farmers by ensuring that the received cane is exclusively from within the region.  

Kihumba disclosed that the company has planted sugarcane on 1,400 hectares of its 3,400 hectares’ nucleus land and plans further expansion. He emphasized the importance of cane development for the sustained success of the company. 

Expressing gratitude to the government for their support, Kihumba underscored the collaborative efforts that facilitated the company’s revival.  

The management pledged to increase freight support, deploying additional tractors to aid in transporting sugarcane as more farmers align with the miller. 

The Company’s reawakening signifies a positive turn for the Kenyan sugar industry, promising employment opportunities, prompt payments, and increased support for local farmers, while contributing to the economic growth of the region. 

Last week, a Nairobi court ruling paved way for Uganda’s Sarrai Group to resume full control of the factory, ending a prolonged lease war surrounding the Kenyan sugar producer. 

The court’s decision is expected to provide the stability needed for Sarrai Group to contribute to the restoration of the once-flourishing sugar miller. 

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