AILING MILLER

Mumias Sugar farmers ask for better contracts

They want six-year deal for better management of sugarcane production

In Summary

• Mumias Sugar is currently producing ethanol alone because of shortage of the cane caused by poaching by rivals.

• Association says firm should engage small scale farmers who account for over 80 per cent of cane production

Farmers want troubled Mumias Sugar Company to adopt a new method of contracting them to boost cane production.

Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers deputy Secretary Simon Wesechere on Tuesday said the company should embrace a model where the miller enters into a land lease agreement with farmers to expand acreage under the crop. 

The current contracts do not take into account the land lease aspects and only addresses the terms and conditions of cane production. The contracts were designed at inception of the company in the early 1970s.

 

Former Mumias sugar management under Errol Johnston planned to implement the new model in 2016 but he resigned.

Under the new arrangement, the miller would enter into a six-year lease contract with local farmers to allow them (miller) take full management of sugarcane development and production. 

The two parties would agree on the mode of payment based on the size of land under consideration. 

This way, the miller would meet the entire cost of cane development from land preparation, sourcing for seed cane, taking care of the crop to harvesting. 

“We call on the acting MD Isaac Sheunda and chairman Kennedy Ngumbao to aggressively source for funds and invest in cane development instead of relying on bailout by the government,” Wesechere said. 

He addressed sugarcane farmers at Malaha in Mumias East. Wesechere said the firm should engage small scale farmers who account for over 80 per cent of cane production.