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Hundreds of sugarcane farmers in Homa Bay got a sigh of relief after a sugar miller announced their plan to buy their canes. The Sukari Industries Limited based in Riat, Kanyikela, Ndhiwa constituency said they will start buying the canes from the local farmers.
The industry’s management added that they will buy harvested canes starting next week. This comes after a number of farmers complained that their canes lacked market. The industry’s harvesting and transport manager John Okinda said they met local farmers and agreed to start collecting the crops from the farmers for milling. Other private sugar miller officers in South Nyanza also attended the meeting.
Speaking to journalists at Ramoya in Ndhiwa Okinda said their firms were facing challenges of ferrying the canes due to rains. He said sugarcane farmers in Awendo and Uriri in Migori county also experienced the same challenge. “We normally harvest sugarcane between January and August. But this year we delayed the harvesting due to unfavourble weather. Long rains made farms inaccessible,” Okinda said.
Last week, sugarcane growers raised concerns that their crops would be destroyed in the farms should harvest continued get delayed. The canes had reached their 18 months of harvesting. The farmers led by their secretary Paul Odoyo said they wanted to let animals feed on their crop or destroy them and engage in other agricultural activities.
Sukari industry ,Ndhiwa
The farmers decried of continuous loss on their crops. “The farmers were seriously disappointed because they could get market for their crops. They spent a lot of time, energy and resources to grow the crop but they couldn’t get rewards,” Odoyo said.
But on Tuesday, Sukari industry assured the farmers that their crops would be harvested and payment be made promptly. He said the firm is working closely with Homa Bay government to improve the condition of roads that lead to the cane farms. “We suspended harvesting because of bad roads. But we’ve also agreed with Homa Bay government to repair main road that lead to cane farms,” Okinda said.
Sukari Industry limited also promised to provide farm inputs such as seed-canes and chemicals. Okinda said farmers have been instructed to from groups for them to be assisted more easily. Sukari Industry’s board chairman Vitalis Opiyo urged the national government to regulate sugar imports to protect local farmers from
Opiyo argued that importation of sugar affects prices of locally produced sugar. “Sugarcane farmers normally suffer when a lot of sugar imports. This doesn’t provide favorable environment to local growers,” Opiyo said.