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Muhoroni Sugar Company re-opens
Posted on Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 16:05:17 CST by kwpnews


MUHORONI - Muhoroni Sugar Company (MSC) has reopened after 3 months of maintenance, during which a T4 Turbo Alternator project worth sh.80 million was installed to boost power generation by 3 Megawatts.

According to the Firm's General Manager, Joshua Korir and Agricultural Manager, Joel Wang'endo the project financed by Muhoroni Sugar Company (MSC) will be commissioned in March, 2010.

Korir and Wang'endo said current power bills for which the Company pays between sh.8 to 10million monthly will be a thing of the past, as the management strategizes itself for the planned privatization.

Wang'endo said once commissioned, the power bills will drop by up to 80% and together with 120million shillings from Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) for maintenance, the Company spent over 300million.

The Agricultural Manager said they will now be able to pay sh.160million arrears owed to 45, 000 contracted farmers spread out in Muhoroni and Soni sugarbelt.

He was responding to farmers and Nyando Human Rights Network, who challenged stakeholders to help them source for funds to purchase shares in Muhoroni, Chemelil, Nzoia, Sony and Miwani Sugar Companies.

Nyando Human Rights Coordinator, Washington Obura said farmers must purchase the shares to make sure they own a stake in the Companies, if they hope to make decisions on how they should be managed.

Obura said this was the sure way to ensure MSC sugar competes favorably with products from the 19 Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) countries, when the safeguard measures comes to an end.

Speaking during a sensitization forum for farmers at Full Gospel Church, Muhoroni, Obura and a former Muhoroni Sugarcane Out-grower Company (MUSOCO) Managing Director, Charles Obuya said sugarcane farming should be done as a commercial venture.

Obuya said sugarcane farmers have been living like paupers for decades, adding that "they cannot even take their children to school due to MSC's failure to pay farmers arrears on time".

He proposed that while privatizing the sugar firm, it should be done alongside Agro-Chemical and Food Company, which was established to diversify income to benefit farmers further.

"We don't want briefcase investors sneaking in to purchase the shares, leaving farmers at their mercy and if they are unable to purchase the 30% stake the same should be listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange", Obuya said.

He had expressed concern why farmers' arrears delayed yet salaries of MSC staff and transporters dues were paid on time, wondering why the Company should use 15 tones of cane to produce 1 tone of sugar.

Already there are proposals that minimum shares be pegged at 5,000 worth 25, 000 shillings for each farmer through respective farming institutions, expected to deduct 200 shillings per tone of cane delivered.

Obuya said any investor coming to purchase Muhoroni Sugar Company must include infrastructural development in his program, pointing out that poor road networks made farmers incur huge losses.

However, Wang'endo disclosed that by the end of this month, MSC's steam production mill will have gone up when boiler three will have been completed to increase efficiency.

He said the factory was still having teething problems with its crushing capacity after the maintenance but anticipates doing 1,800 to 2,000 Tones of Cane per Day (TCD) and in a short time farmers arrears will be cleared.

"Before closing for maintenance we were using 14 tones of cane to produce a tone of sugar but after the exercise we will only consume 11 tones to get the 1 tone of sugar", he disclosed.

Wang'endo said before carrying out the work "the mills were miss-aligned and could not extract sugar efficiently, but now they have been re-set (fitted new rollers and hydraulic system) and re-done foundations of the mill".

In ideal situation, he explained that the miller should use 10 tones of sugarcane to produce a tone of sugar but this would also be determined by cane variety among other factors.

He revealed that MSC has already paid out 30% of the farmers arrears as advances to farmers with pressing issues, hospital bills and schools fees in a bid to confirm that they were concerned about the plight of farmers.

Source: KBC

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