A section of sugarcane farmers in South Kanyabala sub-location within Homa Bay Sub-County have lamented over delays by Sukari Industries Limited to collect cut cane.
The farmers whose sugarcane is the main source of livelihood complained that the company had failed to collect sugarcane that were harvested weeks ago.
Daudi Olala, one of the farmers in the area said that his sugarcane cut down on the 1st of this month and has since been on the ground waiting for transportation to the factory.
“I have two farms that were cut down around the same time but are yet to be collected. I have made several trips to the industry to seek intervention but to no avail,” explained Olala.
The farmers said that they had signed an agreement with the industry that gave them leeway to grow sugarcane that would then be harvested and collected by the factory.
Speaking to KNA during a visit to the area, the Secretary General of Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane farmers, Ezra Okoth said the situation was dire.
He noted that most of the cane had been harvested weeks ago and were rotting on the ground adding that the farmers were bound to experience great losses especially during the rainy season.
“Payment to farmers is based on sucrose content that is greatly reduced when the sugarcane is left rotting on the ground for weeks. This is a great shame because the importation of sugar from outside countries continue while our farmers languish in poverty,” said Okoth.
He further added that there was a need to protect the farmers by introducing a clause in the 2019 sugar bill that will see negligent millers penalized for delay in collecting harvested sugarcane to ensure that the farmers reap benefits for their hard work.
“All we want is fairness where both the sugarcane farmers and the millers benefit,” said Okoth.