Kakamega gubernatorial candidate Ferdinand Barasa has promised to push for the operationalization of Mumias Sugar Company in a bid to rescue farmers and traders in the region.
He said its revival would spur the development of the service sector around the factory and create jobs thus improving the socio-economic fabric of cane farmers.
He said most businesses in the area that depended on the industry had collapsed and many farmers have avoided the growing of sugarcane in the region.
“In line with our wealth creation agenda, we shall create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Mumias Town,” he said.
He added that Mumias Town was developed by sugarcane farmers whose resilience, determination and hard work remained unmatched.
“Right from preparing the land, planting the setts, tending to the crops and to finally harvesting was work of their hands that offered inspiration to the locals. But today, it is no longer the case,” he said.
The farmers argued that with the release of the sugar task force report, the farmers would reap big and benefit from the re-opening of the state-owned mills.
Barasa, while speaking Tuesday in Mumias Town, added that the region has a high potential for aquaculture and his administration would boost its farming in line with the food security agenda.
“As of July 2021, there were 6976 fish farmers across the region and Kakamega County has great prospective for aquaculture,” he noted.
The sugar report has relooked into cane and sugar pricing mechanisms, and reviewed importation and taxation as industries await to be leased to successful bidders.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said writing off the debts owed to the government is a step towards attracting private investors to offer proposals and make investments in the sugar mills.
This is a new move that replaces a previous plan to privatize the sugar firms. The bidders that will lease the factories will operate them and produce sugar as private entities while the government will continue owning the assets.