Sugar cane farmers are worried about their crops. They want the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to tell sugar processing factories to get back to work as usual. This is to prevent mature sugarcane from being spoiled.

Farmers are upset because the companies are not crushing enough sugarcane. This worries them because they fear their sugarcane might be harvested late, causing them losses.

The Secretary-General of the Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association (KSGA), Richard Ogendo, said on Monday, April 15, 2024, that some farmers have had their sugarcane unharvested for six months after it matured.

“There is enough sugarcane, so AFA should allow factories to operate fully according to their capacity,” said Ogendo.

He said if sugarcane harvesting is delayed further, farmers will lose because their sugarcane will lose sucrose and weight.

“Just like any other business, farmers need to make profits from their investments. If sugarcane harvesting is delayed, farmers will not have money to pay their children’s school fees after schools reopen next month,” explained Ogendo.

In December 2023, AFA allowed sugar factories in the Western and Nyanza regions to resume operations after a five-year ban.

The ban was imposed in July 2023 to give sugarcane time to mature in the fields.

This came after AFA received reports of harvesting immature sugarcane, with some factories lacking sugarcane.

“Some factories were operating at below their capacity,” said AFA Acting Director Jude Chesire.

After lifting the ban, AFA said sugar processing factories could operate for 15 days a month, crushing up to 600 tons of sugarcane each day.

The Chairman of the National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (KNFSF) Transmara branch, Stephen Ole Narup, said sugarcane has matured abundantly at a time when the government has announced a drop in sugarcane prices.

In the past two months, he said, the price of sugarcane has dropped from 6,800 to 5,100 shillings per ton.