REVIVING SECTOR

Kwale cane farmers want state to help revive sector

More than 100 people have opted out of farming due to lack of machinery.

In Summary

• Led by John Shaban, they said cane farmers are subjected to poor prices, delayed payments and incur heavy losses for their labour.

• He said the agricultural sector should ensure cane farmers get decent earnings and are able to secure loans.

 

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga with a KISCOL official on Monday, September 14, 2020.
DEVELOPMENT: Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga with a KISCOL official on Monday, September 14, 2020.
Image: SHABAN OMAR
KISCOL factory in Ramisi ward in Kwale county.
TECHNOLOGY: KISCOL factory in Ramisi ward in Kwale county.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

Kwale cane farmers have asked the government to support them in reviving and growing the sugar sector.

Led by John Shaban, they said cane farmers are subjected to poor prices, delayed payments and incur heavy losses for their labour.

“We have no machinery to enable us do plenty of cane farming and most of the time outgrowers' company reap more benefits,” he said.

 

Shaban spoke on Monday at Kwale International Sugar Company in Ramisi within Msambweni subcounty.

He said the agricultural sector should ensure cane farmers get decent earnings and are able to secure loans.

In Kwale over 1,000 sugar cane farmers depend on KISCOL miller for their produce.

The farmers say the company provides inputs and equipment to for cane farming but deduct cost from payments for tonnage delivered. The earnings reduce significantly after the deductions.

Abdallah Ngozi said if the farmers were financially equipped, they could do all the farm work and earn 100 per cent profit for their hard labour.

He said sometimes they are forced to incur expenses on the expansion of roads among other things.

“Infrastructures costs us a lot of money. When roads are made, farmers are the ones paying the millions of shillings,” he said.

 

The cane farmers said the government should create a proper environment for cane farming so that growers are motivated and benefit from their hard work.

He said more than 100 farmers have opted out of cane farming for lack of equipment.

Ngozi said it is among the many reasons why sugar cane production is very low and done on a small scale.

They want the Ministry of Agriculture to supply them with fertiliser, best seeds and other farm implements to produce high-quality cane.

James Ndirangu asked the Sugar Board to ensure that farmers get good prices and are paid on time.

Kenya Sugar Board director Pamela Onditi said the government is making reforms so cane farmers can be paid based on quality of their crop. She said the policy will solve a lot of problems on weight and wages.

Onditi told the farmers to form strong out-grower institutions to improve cohesion and have a better bargaining power.

She said the board is there to ensure fairness and it will tackle the presented issues.

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga said the government would help resolve some of the issues to better the lives of the residents and improve cane farming in Kwale.