‘Hired goons’ disrupt Nzoia farmers’ meet
‘We do not recognise officials of an unregistered entity. Let’s leave now’
Chaos broke out yesterday in Bungoma county when two groups of sugarcane growers fought in Bukembe market, leaving several people injured.
They had convened to be addressed by officials of the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers.
Juma Sikuta, a farmer allied to Nzoia Sugar Company and its affiliate Nzoia Sugar Out-Growers’ Company, confronted the officials and told them farmers do not recognise them.
“This group of con people is here to convince our farmers to back it. We do not recognise officials of an unregistered entity, which is on a money minting spree. Let’s leave now,” he said, sparking mayhem.
AP officers were called in to restore order. Farmer Joram Wanjala supported the federation and condemned the goons hired to cause chaos.
He accused them of working on orders from officials of Nzoia Sugar Company and Nzoia Sugar Outgrowers’ Company.
NFSF secretary general Ezra Okoth blamed the sugarcane problems on the millers. “The majority of farmers are considering uprooting the crop because of poor pay and frustration. The federation stands with farmers. They should be paid handsomely because they are the sole raw material producers,” he said.
Okoth urged millers to raise farmers’ pay from Sh3,554 to Sh3,800 per tonne of sugarcane. He threatened to call for a farmers’ boycott if the millers will not solve farmers’ problems.
NFSF chairman Ibrahim Juma said they are recruiting all farmers, outgrowers’ companies and other associations.
Nzoia Sugar MD Godfrey Wanyonyi and Nzoia Sugar Outgrowers’ Company chairman Christopher Sifuna distanced themselves from the ruckus.
“How could we do such a thing to our farmers? We even sent our officers from the public relations office to the meeting and the firm was well represented,” Wanyonmyi said.
Armed youths walk away after they disrupted a farmers’ meeting in Bukemebe, Bungoma, yesterday