Sugarcane farmers from Nyanza region have asked the newly appointed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya to act on the Sugar Task Force report to save the ailing sector.
The delay in implementation of the report, they said, will further hurt the sector which is struggling in debt.
The Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association Secretary-General, Richard Ogendo said the CS must first make the contents of the report public since farmers feared that it had been doctored.
“The government had good intentions but some cartels hijacked the process and sneaked in proposals that were not fronted by farmers,” he said.
Ogendo said farmers were very clear in their submissions to the task force where they called for doing away with zoning and a ban on sugar imports.
Farmers, he added, will not support any move to reintroduce zoning which he said was denying farmers an opportunity to fetch good practices for their produce.
“Just like coffee and tea, sugarcane farmers want to be free to sell their cane to millers of their choice without restrictions,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of farmers in Kisumu on Monday, Ogendo lauded the appointment of Peter Munya as CS for Agriculture.
He urged the CS to shake-up the sugar directorate at the ministry headquarters in order to institute measures to resuscitate the sector.
He further called for establishment of a fund to bail out farmers and help develop the sector.
“The president has pronounced himself very strongly on coffee which now has a Sh. 3 billion fund. We have also seen tea and now the dairy sector receiving a lot of attention. We want the same for the sugar industry,” he said.
By Chris Mahandara