KENYA – West Valley Sugar Company has officially commenced its sugar milling operations in Kericho County, marking a significant boost for the country’s sugar sector amid increasing sugar demand in the country.
The newly established West Valley Sugar Factory, situated in the Kapkornom area within the Soin/Sigowet constituency, boasts a daily milling capacity of 1,250 tonnes, signalling a promising era for the local sugar industry.
This venture, the first of its kind in Kericho, features cutting-edge technology, including automated machinery and a robust quality control system to ensure the production of high-quality sugar products.
West Valley Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Kipchimchim Group of Companies, is no stranger to the business world, with its successful retail chain, Kipchimatt supermarkets, under its umbrella.
Kipchimchim Group Managing Director, Benard Soi, shared insights into the company’s commitment to supporting local farmers. Currently purchasing sugarcane from approximately 7,500 small-scale farmers in the region at Ksh 6,010 (US$39.18) per tonne, the company is actively contributing to the economic upliftment of the farmers.
Initially equipped to crush 1,250 tonnes of sugarcane per day, the West Valley Sugar Factory has ambitious plans to double its capacity to 2,500 tonnes per day.
This expansion not only promises increased sugar production but also aims to benefit various sugar belts in the region, including Soin-Sigowet, Ainamoi, Kipkelion, Tinderet, Muhoroni, and Nyando.
To enhance cane production further, the company has launched a cane development program, providing farmers with essential inputs such as seeds and fertilizers. According to Mr. Soi, this initiative is expected to significantly boost production over the next one to two years.
Utilizing advanced automated technology imported from India, the sugar miller is not only ensuring efficiency but is also generating its own three-megawatt power to sustain its operations.
The strategic location of the factory aims to alleviate the challenges faced by cane farmers in Kericho, Nandi, and Nyando regions, who have struggled with high transportation costs to distant sugar factories.
West Valley Sugar Company has already registered 3,800 farmers in Soin/Sigowet, Ainamoi, and Tinderet constituencies, covering a cumulative 10,000 acres of cane.
Beyond the factory gates, the project is set to create over 1,000 direct employment opportunities and an additional 6,000 indirect employment opportunities, thereby contributing significantly to the local economy.
As West Valley Sugar Company starts operations, the sugar industry anticipates a major boost hoping to meet the increased demand for the sweetener.
The opening comes in time after the government lift the ban on millers, previously put in place to prevent millers from crushing immature cane.
The government also obtained a two-year extension from COMESA on import control as it embarks on a trajectory to stabilizing the sugar industry.
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