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New sugarcane zoning rules offers farmers an expanded market

Sugarcane Farming in Kenya

Sugarcane farmers in Western Kenya can now sell their produce to more than one miller in an expanded market strategy aimed at ending perennial poaching wars between millers.

Previously, farmers were restricted to one sugar miller but this is set to change following the proposals by the Lake Region Economic Bloc.

In this, farmers and millers will be segmented in five major regions.

Sugarcane farmers in Nandi, Kisumu, Siaya and Kericho will sell their produce to Kibos, Muhororoni and Chemelil sugar companies.

Farmers in Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma will take their produce to Butali, West Kenya and Nzoia sugar factories.

Farmers based in Homa Bay, Kisii, Trans Mara, Migori and Narok will sell their produce to Sony Sugar, Sukari and Trans Mara Sugar Company.

Those from lower western will supply cane to Mumias, Ole-Pito and Busia sugar companies.

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The quantity of sugarcane delivered to factories by smallholder farmers in the country reduced from 7.2m tonnes in 2016 to 4.8m tonnes in 2017, 33.3 per cent shrinkage according to the 2018 Economic Survey Report.  This was on account of prolonged drought unfavorable to cane growth that led to harvesting of immature plants.

The report reveals that total area under sugarcane decreased to 191,200 in ha in 2017 compared to 220,800 ha recorded in 2016. The reduction in the area under the cane was attributed to conversion of land under the crop to other crops such as maize, soya beans, cassava and sorghum.

The average sugar yield per ha also reduced from 55.3 tonnes in 2017 from 62.2 tonnes in 2016, a 10.9 per cent cut.

To curb the shortage, Kenya imported 989.6 thousand tonnes with most of the imports (83.1 per cent) being consumed directly.

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