Sugar Millers to Shut Down Operations by Friday Amidst Standoff Over Cane Pricing

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The Kenya Sugar Manufacturers Association on Wednesday threatened to shut down operations by Friday claiming a breach of agreement by sugarcane farmers.

In a notice sent to the Ministries of Agriculture and the National Treasury, the millers referenced a court ruling that directed them to pay farmers Ksh5,900 for every tonne of sugarcane.

The court issued the directive following a resolution reached by the cane pricing committee on April 8, which announced the new prices of sugarcane.

In its announcement, the cane pricing committee hiked the sugarcane prices by Ksh800 from its initial amount of Ksh5100 paid to farmers.

A sugarcane farm in Western parts of Kenya.

Photo

Butali Sugar Company Limited

Through their chairperson, Jayantilal Patel, millers now demand intervention by the Ministries of Agriculture and Treasury, saying the new pricing was unsustainable for their operations.

According to the millers, the new sugarcane pricing set by the court was also an infringement of the contractual agreement with the farmers.

The manufacturers threatened to suspend their operations from Friday, May 10, until the government heeded their demand.

The millers further claimed the new pricing would cause far-reaching financial implications on the part of millers and that several Kenyans risked the loss of jobs.

In their letter, the millers stated that the planned closure would render about 30,000 Kenyans jobless thus demanding hastened resolution to the stalemate.

Millers also claimed that a shutdown of their operations would lead to a revenue loss of about Ksh2 billion earned by farmers for their cane.

However, despite the threats by the millers to shut down their operations, the farmers claimed they were not moved by the manufacturers’ decision.

“And we are not moved by the threats, we are telling them to go on and close those mills, without the farmer there is no miller and without the farmer, there is no worker,” noted one of the farmers.

Inside Nzoia Sugar Company in Trans Nzoia County.

Photo

Nzoia Sugar Company



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