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County government to build own sugar factory saving farmers transport costs

Sugarcane Farming in Kenya

Sugarcane being loaded on a tructor for trasportation to the factory. Transporters bill farmers between Sh450 and Sh1,500 to transport sugarcane from their farms to the mills, depending on distance covered.

Sugarcane farmers from Kisii County are set to enjoy less transport costs of about Sh300 a tonne of cane transported to the millers as compared to Sh2,000 a tonne the farmers are transporting their cane to other sugar companies outside the county such as Sony Sugar factory in Migori County and Sukari sugar factory in South Nyanza.

With the expected new company, Kisii Renewable Energy and Sugar Factory Company Limited by a private investor to be built in South Mugirango Sub County, 122,000 tonnes of sugar cane produced in the county and transported to millers in other counties will be processed within.

“Cane farming has immense economic potential hence the decision to invest in a sugarcane factory. The factory will take away the transport burden from our farmers and create direct and indirect employment besides lowering production costs,” said Ibrahim Moiro, the county minister of Trade and Industry.

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Transporters bill farmers between Sh450 and Sh1,500 to transport sugar cane from their farms to the mills, depending on distance covered. This cost has become critical as firms source for the raw material in far flung zones according to the Kenya Sugar Board (KSB).

The cost of transporting the raw material is based on the distance which is identified through zoning, where each zone has its cost. The distance is calculated based on the radius between the factory and the farm.

The dominant sugar miller, Mumias Sugar for example, charges farmers Sh399 for a tonne of cane from zone A-B while the farthest zone they charge Sh1,999.

This according to the Kisii leaders will be a thing of the past as farmers will have a factory within the county to absorb all their produce.

“Other than the farmers benefiting on transportation costs, the community in general stand to benefit from this factory through creation of social amenities like schools, health centres and access roads among other facilities,” said the leader of Executive Committee Members (ECMs) Moses Onderi.

“Current production of sugarcane in this county stands at 245,000 tonnes per year but research shows this can rise to 600,000 tonnes annually with modern farming methods.”

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Currently, a total of 3500 ha is under sugarcane in Kisii County.

The latest development on this is various government departments directly involved in the establishment of the new factory presenting their views before the concerned senate committee to kick off the building of the Sh2.4 billion sugar factory.

Some of these state departments involved are National Lands Commission (NLC), National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and Environment Ministry.

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The heads of these departments have been appearing before Senate Lands committee chaired Mwangi Githiomi (Ndarangua) to give their views on the impact of the project and its viability.

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