Cane farmers oppose cheap sugar imports
By KBC Reporter
Cane farmers from Western Kenya are up in arms over illegal importation of cheap sugar that has flooded the market.
The farmers claim that some Kenya Sugar Board members were behind an importation syndicate that has since led to an influx of sugar in the market bringing down the price of sugarcane.
Irate farmers in a stakeholders forum organized by the Kenya Sugar board in Kisumu challenged the board members to come out clean regarding illegal importation of sugar that has led to a reduction in cane prices.
The farmers argue that the illegal sugar has led to a low price of 3,450 shillings per 50kilogram bag of sugar, as compared to an earlier price of 4,200 sh per bag, which have seen sugar factories reduce the price of sugarcane.
But in a quick rejoinder Rosemary Mkok, the Kenya Sugar Board CEO, said that the board had intensified surveillance at all boarder points to check illegal importation of sugar.
She said the board was very much aware of the illegal stocks that were making their way into the country noting that the South Nyanza boarder was already being monitored among other porous border points.
Mkok says the Kenya Sugar Board is deliberating on setting up a sugar strategic reserve fund after it failed to materialize due to lack of concession among the millers with some opposed to centralizing their market to avert internal competition.
The farmers have however called on the sugar board to support millers to focus on improved cane farming that will help drive up sales.