Low and late pay blamed for cane ‘poach­ing’

Farm­ers should be ma­jor­ity stake­hold­ers in millers through a trust, says Lusaka

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - JOHN NALIANYA @jon­a­liash

A par­lia­men­tary team has blamed cane poach­ing in Western on de­layed and in­ad­e­quate pay­ments to farm­ers.

Millers should pay farm­ers promptly and at a fair price to avoid cane poach­ing, said Na­tional As­sem­bly Com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture ses­sion chair­man and Sigowet-Soin MP Jus­tice Ke­mei.

They spoke on Wed­nes­day af­ter the team vis­ited the Nzoia Sugar Com­pany and met man­age­ment on a fact-find­ing mis­sion to learn how to stop cane poach­ing.

Ke­mei said farm­ers are in­creas­ingly get­ting frus­trated with the slow pace of pay­ment and bro­kers are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion.

Be­cause millers pay too lit­tle too late, farm­ers sell to mid­dle­men who also pay lit­tle but promptly.

“Millers can end cane poach­ing. We know farm­ers are not happy when their pay­ments are late. This can force them to sell to bro­kers to get cash fast,” he said.

Ke­mei said the Na­tional As­sem­bly wants to im­prove the in­dus­try and en­sure farm­ers make a de­cent profit.

He said they are work­ing hard to en­sure pri­vati­sa­tion of sugar millers con­sid­ers the in­ter­ests of com­mu­ni­ties and their voices are heard.

“We will part­ner with coun­ties to en­sure this process of pri­vatis­ing sugar millers is in the best in­ter­est of farm­ers,” he said.

Bun­goma Gov­er­nor Ken­neth Lusaka urged Par­lia­ment to pass laws to help all farm­ers.

“We need a proper model that takes care of farm­ers’ in­ter­ests.

“My pro­posal would be that farm­ers be the ma­jor­ity share­hold­ers through a trust,” he said.

He said farm­ers should be pro­tected to en­able them to feed the coun­try and make a profit.

“Be against leg­is­la­tion that hurts farm­ers and the econ­omy. We must pro­tect the back­bone of the econ­omy by pro­vid­ing good laws to help farm­ers,” Lusaka said.

/JOHN NALIANYA

Bun­goma Gov­er­nor Ken­neth Lusaka and par­lia­men­tary Agri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee ses­sion chair­man and Sigowet-Soin MP Jus­tice Ke­mei af­ter meet­ing the Nzoia Sugar Com­pany man­age­ment on Wed­nes­day

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