The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: West Kenya to Put Up Factory in Busia

WEST Kenya Sugar Company has said the plan to build a factory in the disputed Busia sugar zone is on course.

Managing director Tejveer Rai said the company has placed an order for three machines and construction will begin once they arrive in the country.

"We have set in motion cane development programme in the zone by recruiting farmers in the area in readiness for the plant," Rai said yesterday in Kakamega.

Agricultural manager George Sagala said they have recruited more than 10,000 farmers.

Rai said they intend to build the factory around Nasewa.

West Kenya in its application for registration to the Kenya Sugar Board on November 14, 2011, had indicated that in intends to set up a mill with a capacity of crushing 1,250 tonnes of sugarcane daily.

It had also indicated that the mill would be expanded to 2,500 TCD and further to 5,000 TCD and install a 20 megawatts co-generation plant.

The new factory will bring to six the number of sugar mills in Western province.

The five millers are engaged in a dispute for the scarce raw material that has seen most operate under capacity.

Busia sugar zone covers Busia county and parts of Siaya and Bungoma.

Busia Sugar Company was incorporated in 1990 but failed to take off.

According to a KSB appraisal report on miller registration application prepared last year, the zone is capable of producing 25,000 hectares (61,776 acres) of sugarcane but only produces 9,944 hectares (24,695 acres).

Rai dismissed as malicious, claims that his firm is only interested in the raw material from the Busia.

He said despite developing sugarcane in the zone and having permission to put up a factory, his employees have faced hostile gangs.

"They stone and damage our trucks while in transit from Busia to West Kenya. We want the police to protect us because we do not have the capacity to establish those funding the gangs," Rai said.

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