Nzoia Sugar farmers to get Sh579m payout tomorrow

Cane offloaded at Nzoia Sugar Company. /FILE
Cane offloaded at Nzoia Sugar Company. /FILE

Cane farmers contracted by Nzoia Sugar Company will get Sh579 million beginning tomorrow.

Nzoia Sugar chairman Joash Wamang’oli Tuesday said Treasury on Monday released money for the farmers’ arrears.

The factory owes farmers Sh579,820,168.74. The amount belongs to 17,269 farmers.

“Following these developments the company would like to urge all farmers to activate their accounts to avoid inconveniences since the ministry will make the payments directly to their accounts,” he said.

Farmers have been asked to be patient and wait to check their accounts on tomorrow or Monday next week.

The arrears are for deliveries made in November 2017 up to and including October 2018.

President Uhuru Kenyatta during Madaraka Day celebrations at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega county directed the Treasury to release money owed to famers.

The pay will enable farmers who have been waiting for their money for more than a year to meet basic needs alongside paying fees and preparing their farms ahead of planting.

The Nzoia boss noted that the company fully supports zoning of cane to avoid cane poaching that has been a problem for the factory.

“We hope that the newly appointed sugar task force will come up with long term non-partisan solutions to the challenges affecting the sugar industry in general,” he said.

The task force led by CS Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri and Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya is yet to give its report to the President.

“We would also like to thank our famers who have been loyal and patient during this challenging period,” he said.

Wamang’oli appealed to farmers to keep on being loyal since that is what has enabled teh factory to survive.

He said that if the company is to be sold, it should be sold to cane farmers; they should be majority owners.

“We intend to pay our farmers in less than two weeks in the near future,” he said.

Nzoia Sugar Company pays its farmers Sh3,800 per tonne.

He lauded the government for supporting local sugar industries.

Wamangoli said that Nzoia has the biggest nuclear and asked farmers to support zoning which has its own raw material saying anyone opposing it is an enemy of farmers. He asked the former chairman of sugar board Saul Busolo who had formed a parallel task force to end his theatrics now that farmers are set to be paid.

Ken Were a cane farmer from Sitikho, in Webuye said the pay will be a big relief for farmers who have waited for long. The chairman said that as a company, they appreciate the continuous efforts that have been made around the clock by President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in making sure it revives the sugar sector.