The Polysack sugar company has started a process to put up a sugar factory at Busibwabo in Matayos sub-county Busia county.
This was announced by the company officials during a stakeholders meeting at Busibwabo chief camp in Matayos,which was attended by local leaders, sugarcane farmers from the area and the company officials.
Polysack agricultural Director Hassan Atudo has disclosed that fencing of the twenty six hectares land they acquired at Busibwabo will be done in four weeks time after which engineers will come in to start the construction work, “We shall fence the land in the coming four weeks then twenty one engineers from India will come and start constructing the factory”
Atudo called on farmers to sign contracts with his company from next week and plant a lot of sugarcane so that they don’t experience wrangles like those witnessed in other companies and occasioned by cane poaching,
“We urge farmers to plant a lot of sugarcane and we shall also plant twelve thousand hectares of our own cane in two years time so that we don’t go on poaching other people’s canes the way other companies are doing.”
He added that they indent to engage in legal business with farmers in accordance with the sugar Act and criticized other millers for harvesting underage sugarcane,”What other companies are doing, harvesting young canes is unlawful and will cause cane shortage in this region in the coming days. There are also brokers who are buying canes from farmers at a throw away price and sell at West Kenya at triple price”
At the same time, Atudo advised farmers to form cooperative societies and groups which they will use as a platform to acquire loans of low interest from various financial institutions,”I urge farmers to form cooperative societies and groups so that you acquire cheap loans from Kenya sugar Board, AFC and other institutions at 5% interest”
The factory will be milling three thousand tonnes of sugarcane per day which translates to 67,000 acres of sugarcane.
The manager also allayed fears that Busia county cannot support three companies and affirmed that the county has potential to support them given its big size.nd farmers directly and many more others indirectly, apart from improving living standards of Busia county residents through job creation and upgrading of infrastructure.
Various sugarcane farmers organizations threw their support behind the Polysack company dismissing other companies as ‘brokers’ who are out to exploit farmers and make them poorer.
Western Development Initiative Association (WEDIA) vice chairperson Joseph Barasa and Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association (KESGA) Busia county chairman Anthony Asimuge declared their full support towards the project but called on the company to ensure it uplifts the living standards of Busia county people.
“We support your move to put up a factory in this area. We shall sit down with you so that we ensure that our farmers fully benefit from this project,” stated Asimuge adding, “We support a company which will operate within our county and which help our farmers.”
The chairman hit out at West Kenya sugar company operating a weighbridge at Olepito in Teso south for what he termed as ‘exploiting farmers’, “West Kenya is the one bringing brokers to exploit farmers, the company come here and take away our sugarcane and it does not pay Cess money which should be used to repair our roads”
His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Barasa, vice chair of WEDIA, “I opposed from the first time the move by West Kenya company to put up a weighbridge at Olepito area because the company was blacklisted by Kenya Sugar Board”
He also accused Busia county leadership for letting brokers exploit farmers and leave them more poorer.
This is the second company to announce its readiness to put up a sugar factory in Busia county among the three that were cleared by Kenya sugar Board to build sugar mill in the county.
Others are West Kenya and Cherry Sugar. West sugar company held such a meeting two months ago at Olepito primary and announced that it was in the process of putting up a factory in that area where its weighbridge is located.
Cherry is yet to announce its plans about building a sugar factory in the county.