KENYA: Industry developing guidelines to end cane poaching

Published: 04/05/2018, 9:42:09 AM

Sugar industry players are formulating new guidelines to end cane poaching, according to Kenya's Star newspaper.

They will next week meet to discuss ways of ending cane poaching and cushion farmers from losses.

Simon Odera, interim head of sugar directorate, on Wednesday said cane poaching is a major challenge, which will be addressed through creation of mill common zones. "Cane poaching has impacted heavily on sugar production. The geographical zone areas will be allocated to sugar millers by the Agriculture and Food Authority. These are the areas where millers will source cane from, but the guidelines will also allow the millers to go an extra mile and contract individual farmers to provide cane," he said.

Odera said this will give farmers the independence to choose which sugar miller they want to supply.

This came as the Mumias Sugar Company temporarily disrupted operations due to shortage of cane. The company management attributed the closure to cane poaching from rival companies. Odera said drafting of the new guidelines has been slowed by the fact that all stakeholders must be engaged as provided in the Constitution.

He said, however, the discussions are at an advanced stage. The draft will then be forwarded to Parliament and if passed, it will be gazetted.

Odera said the Mumias Sugar Company has in the recent past been reporting low production. The decline is attributed to poaching among others challenges. "There has been an improvement in cane development due to the rains being experienced in the country. This is likely to increase the volume of cane," he said.