Farmers unity defeats non-paying sugar millers

Farmers in sugar producing areas can dodge poor paying or collapsing State-owned millers by supplying their produce to private companies.

Those with large plantations, in western and Nyanza regions, are delivering their produce single-handedly while small-holders are uniting into groups to amass more cane before supplying.

Charles Odida, a farmer who started as a small-scale producer of maize and sugarcane, says the plan has see him receive revenue consistently for years from this company that was established in 1976.

“I have never missed payment for sugarcane delivered to West Kenya Sugar Company. They pay promptly.  For the years I have been dealing with them, I have never been in arrears with them,” he said.

Because of the large quantities that the companies want to receive from farmers, small-holders have organised themselves into groups to meet the minimum set mass.

Some of the private companies in the region include Sony, Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries Ltd, Butali, Transmara, Sukari Industries, among others.

Odida has been delivering his produce since he was a small-scale farmer to the company, and he says relying on the State mills only pushes one to poverty as they go for months that roll into years without pay.

He says the option of forming clusters is the best solution that can shield farmers against government companies, which sell sugar, but cannot afford to pay on time due to persistent cash crises.