Mumias — The Government will not rest until the problems ailing the sugar industry in the Western region are resolved, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said. The President said he will work closely with leaders from the region to ensure sugar factories are properly managed and cane farmers benefit from the crop.
"We will not allow cane farmers to earn less than what they used for production. A situation where a farmer is paid SH42,000 for his cane and asked to pay back to the factory Sh57,000 must stop," he said.
He said the Government will also work with the relevant authorities to ensure that the safeguard on the importation of cheap sugar from the COMESA region is extended so that cane farmers can continue earning good returns from the crop.
The President spoke today at the Hannington Cathedral in Mumias during the thanksgiving service to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mumias Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya. This was the President's first visit to the Western region since his election into office.
As the Government revives the sugar industry in the Western region, President Kenyatta urged residents to diversify their farming activities and venture into dairy and horticultural farming.
"This county is blessed with adequate rainfall and it can become the leading dairy producer not just in Kenya but the whole of the East African region," the President said.
On the political front, the President appealed to Kenyans to shun political party differences and unite in developing the country.
He said leaders must come together -irrespective of tribe, religion and political affiliation -to alleviate poverty and other challenges facing the country.
"Kenyans need good roads, hospitals, schools and effective services that will improve their lives. They do not want to see their leaders engaged in endless political bickering at the expense of service delivery," President Kenyatta said.
Speaking during the occasion, leaders from the region welcomed the President's assurance on the revival of Mumias Sugar Factory and other key factories. The leaders thanked President Kenyatta for his all-inclusive approach to development.
They included Mumias Member of Parliament Johnson Naicca, Deputy Government Chief Whip Ben Washiali, Kakamega Deputy Governor Prof. Phillip Kutima, former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, former Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa and former Vice-President Moody Awori.
They said the region cannot afford to be left behind in development and will work with the Government to realize the aspirations of the residents.
Later, President Kenyatta addressed hundreds of Mumias residents who had gathered outside the church and assured them that his Government would not discriminate in addressing the problems facing the region.
The President said security would be boosted in the area but urged the residents to embrace the Nyumbani Kumi initiative.
"We need to work together in exposing criminals living amongst us. Let's not hide them because doing so would not help in eradicating the vice," President Kenyatta said.
Saying his Government was determined to improve the welfare of the youth and women, the President urged Members of Parliament to pass the necessary legislation that would