Sugarcane farmers demanded their payments from Mumias Sugar Company on Wednesday which have been accumulating for more than three years. Over 200 farmers have accused Mumias Sugar of using armed youth and police to dismiss them each time they visit the factory for their payments.
One of the farmers, George Machanja said he supplied the sugar factory with sugarcane worth Sh93,000 in 2015 and he has neither been paid this amount nor the subsequent amounts in 2016 and 2017.
Another farmer Masoso Okari said he cannot pay school fees for his children in high school and university because he has not been paid for the cane he supplied the factory in 2016.
“It’s very frustrating that every time we come to Mumias to ask for our payment, we are chased away by police officers and armed youths as if we are robbers. Where were the police and the crooks when we were planting this cane?” Okari said.
This news comes after Mumias Sugar said it was grappling with lack of funds due to sugarcane shortage which has made it difficult to pay farmers. The company had promised to pay the farmers after two weeks, but that is yet to happen.
Nashon Aseka, Mumias Sugar chief executive said the largest amount of the debt owed to farmers originated from 2016 supplies.
“When I took over last year, I inherited a debt of Sh900 million to farmers. We had reduced the debt to Sh600 million from the government’s Sh500 million bailout funds but it is again accumulating,” he said.
Aseka also said he is willing to settle the farmers’ payments but is being inhibited by the lack of funds.