Kenya: Rejected Law On Sugar Haunts Cane Growers

Sugarcane farmers are urging the State to protect them from low prices for their crop in the latest bid to turn around their bitter fortunes.

This is after a law meant to regulate the sub-sector including producer prices was shot down by a parliament team.

The Committee on Delegated Legislation in its report on the Crops (Sugar) (General) Regulations of 2020, said the Agriculture ministry did not undertake public participation contrary to the law.

The rules, which were gazetted in May last year among other things empowered Agriculture CS to form a committee to set prices for sugarcane delivered to millers to protect growers from unfair pricing.

And now the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (KNFSF), a lobby for sugarcane growers says they need a safety net from a looming market price destabilisation over planned importation of sugar to cover the country’s supply deficit.

Kenya does not set the price for sugarcane leaving thousands of growers at the mercy of factories and imports from the Common Market for Eastern Africa (Comesa) market.

Importation window

Calls to protect farmers come as the State prepares to open the window for importation of 210,163 tonnes needed to plug the supply gap of the sweetener.

Agriculture Secretary Peter Munya last week told Parliament that the country faces a shortage this year underlining the need to import from the Comesa market.