The Star (Nairobi)

21 August 2014

Kenya: Give Loans to Sugar Cane Farmers - MP

THE Kakamega and Bungoma counties should give loans to sugarcane farmers, Lugari MP Ayub Savula has said.

This will boost cane production and the Western region's economy, he said.

"The country faces acute sugar shortage because there is no mechanism from the national and county governments to promote expansion of sugarcane farming," Savula said.

He asked the national government to reduce importation of cheap sugar to protect local sugar market.

Savula said production of sugar is expensive in Kenya compared to other sugar producing countries in the region and globally.

He said this has affected returns to sugarcane growers.

Speaking to the press in Mumias town yesterday, Savula said Kenya spends Sh65,424 to produce one tonne of sugar while other countries including Malawi and Brazil spend Sh30450 to produce the same amount of sugar.

"When the imported sugar reaches the Kenyan market, it becomes cheaper than the locally produced and kills market for our own sugar," he said.

Savula said the government should intervene in sugar production to cushion supermarkets from inflating shelve prices.

He said millers in the country are faced with a lot of challenges including flooding of the market with cheap imported sugar.

"Nzoia sugar uses very old machines, which are innefective. Mumias has a new diffuser machine but faces the challenge of cane supply because most of the out-grower farms have small plots due to the rising population," Savula said.

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