Representatives of farmers and millers have agreed on key proposals in the sugar regulations, drawing the industry closer to adopting a new policy that could end perennial cane poaching wars.
In a deliberation led by the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and his Kisumu counterpart Anyang’ Nyong’o, the stakeholders agreed that regional zoning should be introduced.
According to the new deal, farmers will now not be restricted to one sugar miller but will be put in a regime where there are two or three millers.
Mr Oparanya noted that the move will be beneficial to both the farmers and the millers who will be segmented into five major regions.
“While appreciating that we cannot have a complete free market, regional zoning is necessary to both the players as it will ensure that the millers also develop their own sugarcane to meet their milling capacity,” Mr Oparanya, the Kakamega governor, said.
The plan indicates that sugarcane farmers based in Kisumu, Siaya, Kericho and Nandi counties will take their produce to Chemelil, Muhoroni and Kibos sugar companies.
Upper western region - which involves farmers from Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties - will deliver their cane to Nzoia, Butali and West Kenya sugar companies.
On the other hand, those from lower western will take their cane to Mumias, Ole-Pito and Busia sugar companies.
“Sony Sugar, Sukari Industry and Trans Mara Sugar companies will cater for farmers drawn from Homa Bay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori and Narok counties,” the proposal by reached by majority of millers said.
Kwale Sugar Company, which has since been closed, will however enjoy the monopoly of getting the cash crop from farmers in Tana River and Kwale counties.
In the meantime, the stakeholders agreed that growers who have a capacity to plough, plant, harvest and transport their produce should be free to deliver to any factory of their choice.
The agreement reached by the 13 licensed millers and farmers’ representatives also indicated that millers must engage in contractual model.
To ensure that the contracts are not violated, Sony Sugar Company acting managing director Bernard Otieno said enforcement of contracts between millers and growers should be done.