Kisumu Sugarcane Farmers Protest New Prices and Extended Sugar Imports

Kenyan sugarcane farmers protest government's decision to extend sugar imports and lower crop prices, threatening their livelihoods and the local industry.

Shivani Chauhan
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Kisumu Sugarcane Farmers Protest New Prices and Extended Sugar Imports

Kisumu Sugarcane Farmers Protest New Prices and Extended Sugar Imports

Kisumu, Kenya - Sugarcane farmers in Kisumu County have voiced their opposition to the government's recent decision to extend the importation of sugar and the introduction of new pricing for their crops. The farmers argue that these measures will negatively impact their livelihoods and the local sugar industry.

On Monday, hundreds of farmers gathered outside the county government offices to express their discontent. They carried placards with messages such as "Stop sugar imports" and "Fair prices for our cane." The farmers demanded a meeting with county officials to discuss their concerns and find a resolution.

The government recently announced a six-month extension on the importation of sugar, citing a shortage in domestic production. This decision has been met with criticism from local sugar producers who argue that the imports undercut their prices and threaten the sustainability of the industry.

Additionally, the farmers are protesting the new pricing structure for sugarcane introduced by sugar mills in the region. The mills have lowered the prices paid to farmers, citing increased production costs and competition from imported sugar.

John Ochieng, a sugarcane farmer from Muhoroni, expressed his frustration: "We have been growing sugarcane for generations, but these new prices make it difficult for us to earn a living. The government needs to protect us from cheap imports and ensure fair prices for our crops."

The sugar industry is a significant employer and economic driver in Kisumu County and the wider western Kenya region. The farmers argue that the government's policies are jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of families who depend on sugarcane farming.

County officials have promised to engage with the national government and sugar mills to find a solution that addresses the farmers' concerns. Governor Anyang' Nyong'o stated, "We understand the plight of our sugarcane farmers and will work towards ensuring fair prices and a level playing field for our local sugar industry."

The protests in Kisumu highlight the ongoing challenges faced by Kenya's sugar sector, which has struggled with competition from imports, high production costs, and declining yields. The government has implemented various measures to revive the industry, including privatization of state-owned sugar mills and investments in modernizing production facilities.

With the standoff between the farmers and the government continuing, stakeholders in the sugar industry are calling for a comprehensive review of policies to ensure the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the sector. This includes addressing issues such as reducing production costs, improving yields, and exploring value addition opportunities.

The farmers have vowed to continue their protests until their demands are met. They argue that the survival of their livelihoods and the future of the local sugar industry are at stake. The county and national governments are under pressure to find a solution that balances the interests of the farmers, sugar mills, and consumers while ensuring the long-term viability of the sugar sector in Kenya.

Key Takeaways

  • Kisumu sugarcane farmers protest govt's sugar import extension, new pricing
  • Farmers argue imports undercut prices, threaten local sugar industry
  • Sugar mills lower prices paid to farmers, citing higher costs, competition
  • Farmers demand fair prices, govt protection from cheap imports
  • Stakeholders call for policy review to ensure long-term sustainability of sector