News and knowhow for farmers

Kenya’s first sugar beet processor to recruit 650 farmers

Kenya’s first sugar beet processing company is looking to increase its farmer base from 320 to 1,000 at the end of the year.

In a month, Ranges Sugar Factory, in Nyandarua County, will start to crash 50 tons of sugar beets from its farmers to produce about 10 tons of sugar daily. With increased farmer production, the company hopes to double this output.

Commercially, sugar beet plants are grown for their high sugar content. They provide one-fifth of the world’s sugar and are the key source of sugar for the world’s industrialised nations. 

It is more economical to produce than sugarcane and also serves as high-quality fodder.

Related News: Sugar beet farming offers solution to Kenya’s sugar & fodder woes

Related News: Sugarcane farmers deploy beetles to combat white scale pests

“The farmers we work with are all drawn from Nyandarua due to its peculiar temperate weather. The climate here almost mimics European summer weather which is ideal for sugar beets,” said the company’s chief crop researcher and extension officer, John Maina.

Ranges Sugar Factory

Ranges is currently working with about 320 farmers cultivating 100 acres.  These are all farmers to whom the company has sold seeds. With proper legal advice, they are looking to formalise this arrangement into a contracted one.

“This is a new agriculture venture in Kenya, farmers are understandably skeptical of growing this crop and failing at it due to a lack of information on how to manage it or a lack of market. As more people know what we are doing, we will increase our out-grower farmers,” he said.

Sugar beets contain 16- 20 per cent sucrose (sugar) content. This means that most of the crop, about 80 per cent, is extruded as ‘waste’ in the form of pulp and sucrose water. The pulp can be made into roughage for fodder and the sucrose water into concentrated molasses.

Related News: New project offers groundnuts as alternative source of income for sugarcane for Western Kenya farmers

Sugar beet farm, Nyandarua

The company’s farmers currently only grow Sugartop sugar beet seeds which are imported into the country through Simlaw Seeds. They are sold to farmers in 250, 500, and 1,000-gram sachets which cost Sh950, 1,900, and 3,800 respectively. A quarter kilogram of seeds plants one quarter an acre, 500 grams half an acre, and one kilogram of seeds fit one acre.

Depending on the level of farm management one acre of Sugartop yields 32-45 tons of sugar beets.

John Maina, Ranges: 0701013007

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top