- The Malava-based factory rolled out an aggressive programme targeting to recruit more farmers to grow sugarcane.
- Company director Onkar Rai attributed the factory’s progress to the partnership it has with cane farmers.
West Kenya sugar miller has spent Sh47 million on motorbikes to improve support for cane farmers.
As the local sugar industry continues to face acute shortage of sugarcane, West Kenya is enhancing mobility of its field staff to enable them access farmers more easily.
Following closure of sugar factories due to lack of cane, the Malava-based factory rolled out an aggressive programme targeting to recruit more farmers to grow sugarcane.
The shutdown of local sugar factories has resulted in escalation of prices of the sweetener.
Currently, a kilo of sugar is retailing at between Sh220 and Sh230 and two kilos between Sh430 and Sh440.
Economic experts have sounded a warning that the price of sugar is likely to continue skyrocketing due to lack of sugar in Comesa countries.
During the distribution of the 250 motorbikes, company director Onkar Rai attributed the factory’s progress to the partnership it has with cane farmers.
He reiterated that the company was committed to ensuring that the farmer, who is the main supplier of the raw material, receives services at their doorstep.
“Let our presence to the farmers be felt. What the farmers want is best services and ensure they are paid weekly. Our field staff should reach out to our farmers even those in areas that are not accessible, listen to them and offer timely solutions to concerns they have because they are our biggest and dependable partners,” Onkar said.
“The activities we are having now are not good for our company only but to the local sugar industry, we therefore have our work cut out in recruiting new farmers and retaining those already contracted to us by serving them well.”
Two months ago, many sugar factories in Western region shut down temporarily due to lack of mature sugar cane for milling.
The factories expected to resume operations after four months. However, the Agriculture and Food Authority this week extended the ban on milling by one month, meaning that the earliest factories can resume crushing is early next year.
“It is obvious that the closure of factories affected many people but with good strategies and enhanced partnership with farmers we shall come out of this situation stronger,” Onkar said.
Evelyn Apadet, a field supervisor, hailed the company for enhancing the mobility of the field staff.
“With the onset of the rains, we expect more farmers to develop sugar cane so we have to be there whenever they need us. I am certain that we are going to meet the set targets,” Apadet said.
The beneficiaries of the motorbikes were warned against flouting traffic rules and encouraged to adhere to safety standards while on the road.