Cane growers in Bungoma daunted by delayed pay

Farmers have complained about lack of seeds despite land being ready

In Summary

• Firm's new MD should meet farmers and address their woes. 

• Timely payment keeps farmers' confidence in company intact. 

Nzoia Sugar Company factory in Bungoma. The company serves more than 67,000 cane farmers
NO INCENTIVE: Nzoia Sugar Company factory in Bungoma. The company serves more than 67,000 cane farmers
Image: Hilton Otenyo

Farmers from Bungoma who are entitled to selling their cane to Nzoia Sugar company have complained about the failure of the company to supply sugarcane seeds, despite the land being ready for cultivation for one month.

Recently, the company received its new managing director Wanjala Makokha who vowed to revive the company’s ruined reputation. Then do we still say he is too new to the office to tackle the issue? The grapevine has it that there is not enough fuel to transport the seed canes from the company’s farm to the cane growers.

If that is the case, then will the dues of farmers since late 2016 be settled in advance? Farmers are now shying away from supplying their product to the factory and have opted to supply to nearest millers who offer better services. For the company to grow to meet its targeted gross domestic product, it is obliged to invest in its farmers despite the risks involved.

Timely payment for goods and services rendered acts as a motivational factor and will keep their confidence in the company intact. Makokha needs to remain firm and come to the ground to listen to farmers’ woes to come up with proper remedies. He needs to follow up on the issue of dues the government owes farmers and ensure they are settled as soon as possible.

It is completely unfair for an elderly woman to cultivate cane for 18 months with a view of paying bills only for the factory to fail to honour the payment. With this happening, it is entirely understandable for farmers to seek other millers.

There were also claims the sugar factory has been giving priority to paying off other suppliers at the expense of farmers, leaving them languishing in poverty.