KENYA: Sony Sugar in trouble over delays
Published: 08/20/2012, 5:26:28 PM
The sugar industry regulator is seeking an explanation from Sony Sugar Company over its inability to harvest cane on time, according to Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper.
The Kenya Sugar Board (KSB), in a letter addressed to the miller's managing director, Paul Odola, says farmers have registered their complaints regarding non-harvesting of cane, which has led to their inability to service loans with the Agricultural Finance Corporation(AFC).
"Kindly provide us with reaction to the claims immediately," said the KSB letter signed by chief executive Rosemary Mkok.
Some of the farmers - who included Chacha Daudi, Joseph Nyaiki , Charles Wamburua and Joseph Makongoro - told KSB through Kenya National Sugarcane Growers Union (Kensgu) lawyer Kerario Marwa the frustrations they were facing in repaying their loans.
The growers usually service loans from the payments received from cane deliveries. The farmers said Sony had caused them many problems, with the AFC threatening to auction their property to recover outstanding loans and interests.
Kensgu secretary general Ezra Okoth asked Members of Parliament from cane-growing areas to push for waiver of loans advanced to farmers.
He said many farmers were unable to service their loans. "AFC has given over KES1 billion (US$12 million) loans since 2007 but the inefficiencies of the millers have made it difficult for farmers from servicing their loans in time.
"The farmers are now facing the auctioneer's hammer unless the debts are written off, as was the case in coffee and pyrethrum sub-sectors," said Okoth.
A manager at Sony who asked not be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media said some farms had not been harvested in good time due to "logistical reasons," but added that the matter was being addressed.
The miller, based in Awendo, has over 30,000 contracted farmers spread out in Migori and Homa Bay counties.