KENYA – Stakeholders and Sugarcane farmers from sugar belt region have opposed the Kenyan government’s proposal to merge three ailing sugar millers Chemelil, Muhoroni and Miwani as a government’s intervention to revive the under-performing sugar sector reports Kenya Digest.
They have expressed their dissatisfaction on the decision urging that the merger would not improve the miller’s management given that they have failed to prosper independently and would only complicate matters.
Kenya Sugar cane Growers Association (Kesga) Secretary General Richard Ogendo warned that amalgamating the three would kill the industry in the region.
“Drawing from the experience of Mumias, we have no confidence that coming up with a single entity will work for us when the same has failed and threatens to bring down the entire industry in western Kenya region,” he said.
On his side, Stephen Narupa, National Treasurer at Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, disapproved the move claiming highlighting that running the firms independently has brings more fortune as opposed to merging them.
“It is unfair for the government to consider merging the three major companies in Nyando sugar belt without involving the farmers who are the key stakeholders,” he said Mr, Narupa.
“The industry is largely made up of small-scale farmers who work hard to ensure that the firms run by providing the key raw materials for the production of the sweetener,” he said.
Local leaders had fronted a memorandum to President Uhuru Kenyatta when he visited the region in December, asking for the three millers to be merged so as to operate as a single profitable entity.
The sugar industry in the country has been facing challenges in management and financing its operations compelling them to close business.
Up to date, Mumias, Muhoroni sugar factory, Sony Sugar, Kibos Sugar, and Chemelil have closed their operations significantly affecting local sugar production in the country.
Kenya being a net importer has now been left to spend more currency importing the commodity.
The government efforts to revitalising the sugar industry has seen it refinance the sector to the tune of US$295.22 million which has however yielded minimal turnaround success.