Busia Sugar Industry Issue Statement on Uganda Sugarcane Importation

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OFFICIAL STATEMENT FOR BUSIA SUGAR INDUSTRY ON SUGARCANE FROM UGANDA

The media has been awash with misconstrued reality of the situation on the ground about the Ugandan cane coming to Kenya.

In Busia Sugar Industry Limited perspective on the matter, we want to state as follows:

When Busia Sugar Industry Limited started setting up of the sugar milling factory, it was working against a well calculated plan and program knowing that by 2016, the construction phase will be completed and milling commences as from 2017.

With such arithmetic at hand, BSIL went into robust and formidable Cane Development program that would sustain it’s crushing capacity of 3,500 TCD.

With enthusiasm of the farmers around Busia County and neighbouring Counties like Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya, farmers in their thousands embraced the project and were recruited and contracted to plant cane with BSIL.

BSIL had confidence in the laid down plan and compounded by the feasibility study, BSIL was confident that Busia County alone has the potential and capacity to sustain its operations in terms of availing the raw material which is Sugarcane.

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However, one of the rival Millers in Busia County; after realizing that BSIL had a workable and systematic program that threatens its market, decided to fabricate over 12 court cases that had no basis just but to frustrate BSIL’s operations.

This was the beginning of challenges in Busia Sugar Industry Limited’s Cane Development program that has distabilized it to date. The court issued injunctions after injunctions that hampered construction phase. The worst was the holding of our operations licence even after construction phase was done.

As a result, our farmers whose cane was mature and ready for harvest did not have anywhere to take their cane. On the other hand we were frustrated even more since we had a contractual obligations to harvest the cane since that was what we had agreed with the farmers.

As if that was not enough, hundreds of millions of shillings worth of investment in those farmers was rotting away; dealing BSIL a triple tragedy.

On the other side, our competitor who fabricated court cases against us went on rampage to loot our cane in broad daylight. Over 500 acres worth of mature cane was stolen by the same rival Miller. This was a surly well orchestrated move by the rival Miller to bring Busia Sugar industry limited.

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When ultimately the last case was thrown out and BSIL given a clean bill of health to start operations, there was nothing to start from in terms of raw materials. Despite that, BSIL started from the little cane that survived the eyes of the well known poacher Miller in Busia County.

It was on that basis that farmers from both Kenya and Uganda realized that there was scarcity of sugarcane in Kenya while there is surplus in Uganda beyond the capacity of the uptake of Millers there.

The farmers and local traders engaged the government officials of the two countries in negotiations and later agreed under strict terms of compliance to transact the cross boarder business.

On 8th August 2019, the acting Director for AFFA Mr. Solomon Odera together with facilitators of cross border trade met the management of Millers where the rival Miller also attended to agree on modalities of engagement with farmers and traders who would be supplying the Millers with cane.

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This for BSIL was a gap fill measure to help us come out of scarcity of cane caused by the rival Miller through court cases and looting of our cane. This program was going hand in hand with extensive Cane Development program to reinstate what had been stolen and open up new fields for Cane Development.

Besides the cane from Uganda cane as a relief to hundreds of families whose lives had been disenfranchised due to COVID-19. Traders, vendors and many other people who engaged directly or indirectly in the Uganda cane business got a source of income.

In view of the above, Busia Sugar Industry Limited stresses that it does not import sugarcane from Uganda but it is purely businesses run by individuals and groups of people.

-Stephen Mula Siachire
Public Relations Officer/Spokesperson

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