President Uhuru Kenyatta also formed a task force headed by the Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to look into the sugarcane sector woes and come up with a lasting solution.
There has been a push and pull between the treasury and farmers who were calling for the cash to be released for months. The money came unexpectedly when farmers were almost giving up on the promises that had turned into a cliche.
The Kenya National Federation of sugarcane farmers led by their deputy secretary general Simon Wesechere and vice chair Meshack Shatimba are on behalf of the farmers, grateful to the government for keeping its promise.
They have called upon all farmers to quickly collect their dues within two weeks saying that uncollected funds may be transferred back to the central bank. “All farmers who underwent vetting from all the clusters should visit their local banks for their money before it is transferred into trustee fund which will be hard to reclaim,” said Wesechere.
Wesechere also urged those getting paid to save part of the money to invest back in cane farming. He said that it will be prudent to plant even more cane if the factories are to operate again.
Wesechere, however, warned politicians intent on collapsing Mumias Sugar Company that the Farmers Federation will not buy their idea. He said the people who majorly depend on sugarcane for their daily upkeep aren’t ready to see Mumias collapse and called upon the government to see to it that the factory regains its status. “We are aware of a few politicians merging with cartels with an intention of buying Mumias Sugar Company at Kshs 5 billion, we know that at the moment Mumias is valued at Kshs 40 billion plus and we will not allow the gameplay witnessed at Webuye paper mill to be repeated at Mumias.”
Shatimba called upon the government to address cane farmers issues immediately they erupt to avoid a repeat of what has been witnessed in the past three years. They have called upon the formed task force to resume its mandate given that the obstacle, which was the debt owed to farmers, has been settled.