Hope for sugarcane farmers as Sugar Bill 2022 in the offing

Proceedings in Senate

The Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture has assured cane farmers across the country of their commitment to fast-track the passing of Sugar Bill 2022 to resuscitate the ailing industry.

The Committee Chairman Senator James Murango said President William Ruto is keen to assent to the Bill noting that the Senate is doing everything within its powers to hasten the process.


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“I want to confirm to you, once we finish this public participation, within 2 weeks, we shall have passed this Bill and sent it to the President to assent to it,” he said.

Farmers who spoke during a public participation on the Bill on Monday, March 11 at Chemelil Sugar Company emphasized on the need to include a clause on zoning to prevent millers from harvesting cane they did not develop.

Caleb Ochieng, a representative of the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers says the Bill has good fortunes for farmers and should be supported.

Ochieng says the Bill is coming up with a raft of measures aimed at revitalizing the industry and modernizing the machines.

“Once the Bill is assented into law, we are going to see a lot of changes in our factories, why then should we have a free market for cane?, we need zoning to confine millers into their jurisdictions,” he said.

The public participation brought cane farmers from Kisumu, Nandi and Kericho counties who unanimously supported the proposal to have sugar-belts delineated into zones and clusters.

The farmers said that the move will provide for a pragmatic management of their affairs.

Chemelil Sugar Factory acting  Managing Director Jacqueline Kotonya reiterated her full support for zoning noting that within the Nyando sugar-belt, the existing factories have sufficient cane to serve them to full capacity.

“I am supporting zoning, we have around six millers in this zone, we will harvest cane within us and there is enough for all of us,” she said.

Among other proposals, the Sugar Bill 2022 is seeking to establish a sugar board to solely manage sugar affairs in the country as opposed to generalizing the sugar sub sector under Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).

The farmers have told the Senate Committee to borrow heavily from the report prepared by former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and former agriculture cabinet secretary Mwangi Kinjuri in 2019.

The Bill is also proposing the establishment of a Sugar Arbitration Tribunal for the purpose of arbitrating disputes and will be headed by a person qualified to be a High Court Judge.

It also has the component of the establishment of Kenya Sugar Research Training Institute to regulate research work in the sector.

The committee chair promised to ensure all the views expressed by the farmers are put into consideration.

By Fredrick Odiero

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