Low and late pay blamed for cane ‘poaching’
Farmers should be majority stakeholders in millers through a trust, says Lusaka
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.
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