We wonder how KSB could have allowed three different companies to set up their activities within the same county
— Busia Outgrowers Company chairman Stephen Omuse
By Robert Wanyonyi
The farmers said the move by KSB had precipitated the current war over cane as some newly registered millers lack cane to crush.
This has consequently led to cane theft in the area.
Led by Busia Outgrowers Company (Boco) chairman Stephen Omuse, the farmers defended Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) against claims of harassing private farmers adding those being pursued were cane thieves.
He added industry regulator KSB was tight-lipped as cane theft threatened to cripple MSC.
He pointed out MSC had pumped millions of shillings into cane development within Busia County, a sugar belt now under contention.
“We wonder how KSB could have allowed three different companies to set up their activities within the same county considering that MSC was already operating here. Let the Government investigate and establish what actually happened and take appropriate action,” demanded Omuse.
He added cane thieves who previously used to operate along the Nzoia sugar belt in Bungoma County were curtailed and have now shifted their activities to Busia County where they have taken up jobs as transport officers for a new miller.
“They have their work clearly cut out and that is to buy or steal cane from farmers contracted by MSC. We blame KSB for all these developments since it issued the licenses without verifying whether the awarded companies have developed their own cane or not. They have now opted to poaching cane in order to stay afloat in the competitive market,” claimed Venswa Okwara, a cane farmers’ representative for Lupida area.
According to documents availed to The Standard, KSB had shortlisted four companies that had applied to set up sugar factories in Busia County, owing to the area’s potential for sugarcane production.