BY JOHN MUGANDA
Sugar cane farmers in Bungoma county have been challenged to stop relying on crop as their main source of income.
A petitioner in Kabuchai parliamentary seat Tale Nabangi told the farmers to either diversify their farming methods or switch to other cash crops for increased production.
He noted that the sugar industry was faced with a major crisis of shortage of the raw material and market and market for the product and stressed the need for the farmers to venture into other income generating activities.
Speaking at various trading centers during an inspection tour of the development projects he had helped to initiate Nabangi noted that cultivating the crop was no longer viable because of the pressure on Land.
Sugar cane farming is expected to be on the large scale and with the small scale pieces of land we own exhaustion of land some farmers are recording negative returns.we shouldint allow this trend to continue when we have options he said.
Nabangi who ran for the seat independently coming second to James Lusweti of FORD KENYA said he was sacrificing part of his resources to help uplift the standards of living of the locals residents.
Currently the farmers who are contracted to Nzoia Sugar company have not been paid for their crop deliveries since the beginning of October.
The company’s communications chief Gilbert Awino attributed the problem to financial difficulties ranging from luck of sugar cane and market for the product caused by cheap imports of sugar.
Nabangi paid among the projects he was undertaking was construction of houses for the poor , expansion of latrines of public primary schools and funding self help development groups .
In a related development the Kenya national federation of sugar cane farmers supports the government to privatize the state owned sugar millers.
Chief Executive Francis Waswa said part of the reasons for the parastatals poor performance is over establishment influenced by political leaders and corruption. Among the top management also even politically constituted.
He said privatization would enable hiring of technical people to set specific targets to be met within certain periods for the benefit of the farmers who have been ignored for a long time .
He demanded for actualization of the move by the government to write off the more than Ksh 25billion Nzoia Sugar company owes creditors to facilitate smooth handing over to private companies.