Next week marks a significant milestone for Mumias Sugar Company, a pivotal entity in Kenya’s sugar industry, as it prepares to recommence operations after a four-month hiatus due to a shortage of mature cane. In a recent public notice issued on Friday, the company unveiled its plans to kickstart harvesting and receiving activities at its weighbridges starting Monday. Notably, the company has set an initial cane price of Sh6,050 per tonne.

Leaders from Western Kenya have been steadfast in their efforts to address the miller’s substantial debts, which currently stand at Sh39 billion. Governor Fernandes Barasa of Kakamega recently visited President Ruto at State House in Nairobi as part of these ongoing efforts, discussing the possibility of a debt write-off. This development closely follows diplomatic initiatives aimed at resolving the financial challenges faced by the company.

“Having acknowledged the Cabinet’s approval of Sh117 billion debts owed by five state factories, excluding Mumias Sugar, we possess a comprehensive understanding,” Governor Barasa articulated. He further conveyed that, to tackle the factory’s debt issue and ensure operational commencement from December 1st, with subsequent payments to farmers upon sugarcane delivery, the President will establish a specialized team.

With President Ruto’s imminent visit to the region anticipated, Barasa emphasized a robust revival plan, highlighting the government’s commitment to supporting the company’s growth in cane development and ensuring sustainable factory operations.

The delegation to State House comprised Senators and MPs from various constituencies, all echoing the sentiment of revitalizing Mumias Sugar Company. The impending visit by President Ruto holds significance in potentially resolving the challenges currently confronting the miller.

In a parallel development, Senator Boni Khalwale shed light on the Sugar Bill proposed by MP Emmanuel Wangwe. This legislation aims to absolve millers of their debts and rationalize their operations. Khalwale acknowledged certain controversies within these provisions, specifically concerning zoning. “We joyfully announce: From next month, our people may freely sell their cane to various companies such as Mumias Sugar Company, West Kenya, Nzoia, among others,” he declared.

Khalwale further commented on persistent endeavors towards establishing fair, effective zoning regulations; “We aim to undertake contentious zoning in a manner that ensures no specific zone or milling factory suffers even as we enact the law of zoning,” he underscored.

The region eagerly awaits the revival of Mumias Sugar Company, and the market is poised for potential adjustments in cane buying rates. Industry peers such as Kabras Sugar and Butali Sugar have already advertised new rates; it is expected that these advertisements will serve as a learning opportunity for Mumias. The restart of Mumias Sugar Company promises to invigorate the local sugar industry positively and alleviate some pressures on regional sugarcane farmers.