Stakeholders call for urgent implementation of reforms to revive sugar sub-sector

The Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) has called for the implementation of the past recommendations seeking to revive the ailing sugar sub-sector.

Speaking during a sugar summit in Kakamega, LREB chairperson Professor Peter Anyang Nyong’o said the resolutions, such as those contained in the 2019 Sugar Industry Stakeholders Task Force Report were good hence the need to put them into practice.

Nyong’o, who is also the Governor of Kisumu county, stated that the national government should finally listen to their plea since LREB has 14 million people speaking with one voice of having the sub-sector revived

 The stakeholders blamed the lack of a binding policy in the sector to the disorder being experienced.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula noted that when Mumias and Nzoia were the major players in the sub-sector, there was order in the sector.

He added that those who messed up the otherwise profitable and organised industry must bear the consequences

He regretted that when millers were allowed to import sugar to cater for the shortage, the barons cleverly bought importation rights from some state millers to ship in sugar and deny farmers money for operations.

“Parliament is on recess but I will recall MPs to among other things debate on the Sugar Bill,” said the Speaker. 

The Sugar Bill has legislation that will return the Sugar Development Levy and the Kenya Sugar Board that partly governed the sub-sector to its success.

Stakeholders pray during the opening session of the summit

Kenya Association of Sugarcane and Allied Products (KASAP) Chairman Charles Atyang regretted that when the levy was scrapped, the national government never factored in substantial amounts to develop the sugar sub-sector. 

Jude Cheshire from the Agriculture and Food Authority, Sugar directorate said the views raised in the conference are pertinent and come at a time the government has shown goodwill in reviving the sub-sector.

Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe, the brain behind the private Sugar Bill which lays the ground works of actualising the sector’s reforms, received praise for sponsoring the private member’s motion initially shunned by the government.

By Fredrick Odiero   

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