Sugar cane farmers and stakeholders have claimed that the region has been turned into dumping ground for illegal imports from the neighboring countries, especially Uganda thus killing sugar cane industry.
They have now called on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA) to thoroughly investigate reports that there is some form of collusion between the unscrupulous businessmen and authorities.
Joash Wamang’oli the chairman of Nzoia Sugar company has said that sugar started flowing into the country way before the opening of the customs window in East Africa.
“It is sad that those importing sugar want to kill the local industries. At this rate, we will not have money to our pay farmers,”Wamang’oli said.
AFA’s mandate is to ensure that Kenya imports sugar which is commensurate with the deficit to ascertain adequate stocks in the market. Unfortunately unscrapulous dealers have seized this window to bring in unregulated sugar.The dealers are also taking advantage of the porous boarder between Kenya and Uganda.
Farmers from Nzoia, Butali and West Kenya sugar growing zones have also raised similar concerns, saying they have incurred huge losses due to the illegal sugar imports.
The farmers said the illegal trade was beneficial to Ugandan farmers while further hurting local growers who are already facing challenges in cane farming.
The illegal imported sugar can easily be traced to Bungoma, Mukenya, Masbrago, New Adatia, Kiminini, Kitale, Charangani and Jaralam.
Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, who is a member of the Sugar taskforce, cautioned that opening up the importation window could have negative impact as the prices could fall to unprecedented levels.
Saulo Busolo the Chairman of Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane Farmers has said that the irregular imports was going to hurt the troubled sugar sector.
“I urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to consider giving a stimulus package to the industry players to ensure stability in the sugar sector”Busolo said