As of today, December 4, 2023, the Mumias Sugar Company has officially reopened its doors to receive cane from farmers. Operations have begun in the once giant Sugar Miller, marking a significant milestone in the revival of the company.
In the coming weeks, the company plans to release sugar to the market. However, before doing so, they must undergo compliance tests conducted by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and other regulatory agencies. These tests ensure that the sugar meets the required quality and safety standards.
The management has already taken action by recalling 787 former employees, and more staff members are expected to report to the Sugar Packing area on Monday. Additional opportunities will arise in the Cogen and Ethanol plant, with former employees being engaged on a need basis. This presents a ray of hope for many individuals who were previously out of work.
Stephen Kihumba, the manager in charge of operations and administration, assured farmers that they will be paid promptly for their cane supply. The company aims to pay farmers within seven days, without any delays. Kihumba emphasized that the miller is committed to supporting farmers and ensuring their investment in sugarcane farming is fruitful.
Furthermore, Kihumba encouraged farmers to consider planting sugarcane and to only harvest mature cane that is at least 16 months old. By doing so, farmers can achieve the optimal weight and sucrose content, maximizing the benefits of their hard work.
Mumias Sugar Company has set the price for a tonne of sugarcane at Sh6050. This competitive pricing has led other millers to adjust their prices in favor of farmers, creating a more equitable market for sugarcane growers.
The Agricultural and Food Authority (AFA) has directed the company to crush 2500 tons of sugarcane per day for the next two months, until the end of January. Following this period, the AFA will evaluate the sugarcane availability in the region and determine the crushing capacity accordingly. The ultimate goal is for Mumias Sugar Company to reach its full operational capacity of crushing 8400 tons of sugarcane per day.
Mumias Sugar Company operates within the Lower Kakamega region alongside other prominent sugar companies like Kibos Sugar Company and Olepito. Kihumba assured farmers that their cane would be given priority, as the company focuses on supporting local farmers and avoiding the transfer of cane to other regions.
The company has already made progress in expanding its sugarcane cultivation. They have successfully planted sugarcane on 1400 hectares of the 3400-hectare nucleus land owned by the company. This initial planting phase aims to cover a substantial portion of the land, with the remaining area to be planted in the near future. The availability of sufficient seed cane from the planted nucleus will facilitate the expansion of the overall sugarcane estate.
Kihumba emphasized the importance of cane development for the sustained success of the company. The aim is to bring back farmers who may have given up or become frustrated. The company promises better earnings, prompt payments, and the necessary support for farmers to thrive once again.
To accommodate the increasing number of farmers partnering with the miller, the company intends to enhance its transportation capabilities. This includes increasing freight resources such as tractors, which will aid in the efficient transportation of sugarcane from farms to the mill.
The revival of Mumias Sugar Company represents a new chapter in the Kenyan sugar industry. It brings hope to farmers and promises economic growth for the region. As operations continue and the company reaches its full potential, the future looks bright for both the miller and the farmers.