President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the debt owed to sugarcane farmers while speaking at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega during the Mashujaa day celebrations. He has directed that the ministry of Agriculture and the National Treasury put in place a frame work to audit and pay sugarcane farmers the 2.6 billion payment owed to them.
He mentions in his speech today that in Western, his Administration has consistently focused on supporting sugar farming and production. It is not acceptable that cane factories have been collecting cane from farmers and not paying for it while we know very well demand for sugar has been on the rise.
“As a government that cares, I direct the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Treasury, to immediately put in place a framework to audit and pay sugar cane farmers the 2.6 billion Kenya shillings, the outstanding payment owed to them by public sugar factories,” he said.
As for the sugarcane farmers, he encourage them all to sell their produce to the factories that are well-run and pay on time advising that selling to the informal markets cuts their incomes and delays the development of a proper sugar industry.
“That said, factories which failed to pay farmers punctually now need to meet their obligations by paying farmers promptly and directly, not through millers. I need not tell you how important sugarcane is for the farmers and families of this region; nor that there have recently been unacceptable delays in payment to farmers who have labored long and hard. That’s why I instructed that a taskforce be established, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Mwangi Kiunjuri, and Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, to report within the month with recommendations for restructuring the industry.”he concluded.
Furthermore the president touched on Maize farming. “we cannot over-emphasize the importance of maize in our country, so we will make sure our farmers are paid. In this regard, I further direct that a second task-force be constituted, led by CS Kiunjuri and Governors Patrick Khaemba and Jackson Mandagor, to bring a lasting solution.”
Also in addition he tackled Cotton farming which was once a major source of income and livelihood for many people in the region. He as well instructed the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to work together and come up with a quick mechanism to revive the production of cotton including the possibility of farming BT cotton.
Uhuru urged Kenyans to heal themselves of the culture of permanent and negative politics that is corroding the unity of Kenyans and their hope. “Every day, we are given reasons, trumpeted from media and political platforms, to doubt the goodness and direction of our nation. Thankfully, we are blessed with heroes among us who refuse to glorify hopelessness. They are driven by a hope that they can make a difference. They step up in that faith and by their action, make a great difference. If not in the life of the many, then in the existence of a single individual.” he said.