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Consumer federation urges reopening of sugar milling firms


NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – The Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) is calling on the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to reopen closed sugar factories amid the maturity of farmers canes.

COFEK bemoaned the indiscriminate closure of private mills, which it said appeared indefinite.

In August, the government ordered the closure of sugar milling factories to allow canes to mature until this month.

Despite maturation, some farmers are unable to sell their products to sugar companies due to the existing ban.

“While Government has full rights to declare closure of public-owned sugar millers, on limited cane available or so-called maintenance, we find it fatally wrong that even private millers are equally ordered shut on what appears to be an indefinite closure. This is certainly excessive and insensitive on the part of Government,” COFEK Secretary General (SG) Stephen Mutoro wrote in a letter to AFA Director General Willis Audi.

“You cause to open and or open operations of (at least private) sugar milling firms with immediate and in any case no later than 7 days with effect from today to avoid triggering a legal tussle against yourself,” Audi added.

Mutoro recommends the drafting of a regulation that would allow the rotational closure of factories during periods of maintainable or limited materials.

He also urges fastracking of the Sugar Bill, 2023, which is currently in the Senate and whose implementation will see farmers enjoy the benefits of weighing cane at the farm as well as ensure weighing scales are properly calibrated.

“Enhance the cane per tonne price of sugar to reflect the previaling high pricing of the commodity,” Mutoro said.

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“Publish details of how much sugar, by whom, has been imported into the country since July 2023 to date,” he added.

“We hope this request meets your early and favourable approval and that you will choose to cooperate.”





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