Matuga cane farmers want the Kwale International Sugar Company reopened so they can avoid further losses.
The firm was closed to allow investigations into contaminated contraband sugar. On Thursday, more than 600 outgrowers said the decision was ill-timed. They said they have incurred more than Sh60 million losses.
The farmers on Friday requested Matuga deputy county commissioner Isaac Keter to liaise with the national government so the firm can resume operations.
“We were expecting to start harvesting the crop in August. Now we have no hopes. The company officials said they will open next month and will need at least two months to prepare before they start milling,” secretary Sammy Matunga said.
“We ask the government to hasten the process so we can harvest on time because as days go by, the value of the crop decreases. This in turn reduces the cost.”
Mutunga said they have about 34,595 acres of cane and they expect to earn at least Sh80 million.
“The delayed reopening hurt farmers and more than 2,000 field workers who have lost jobs,” he said.
The company’s community relations manager Mathius Mutua said the factory’s godowns are closed for a month and will be reopened next month.
“The government also closed the machine maintenance office. Even if the firm is opened in August as promised, we’ll need two more months for maintenance before we start crushing sugarcane,” he said.