JANUARY 26, 2002.



Rapporteur: Shem Ochola











1.0              The Sugar Campaign for Change

Ms. Joyce Waititu – SUCAM……………………...……………………    3


1.1       Strategic Importance of the Sugar Sector

Mr. Peter Kegode – SUCAM …………………………………………..    3


1.2              Key amendments and Points in the Sugar Act

Mr. Peter Kegode – SUCAM………………………………………….      7


1.3              Transition Prerequisites

Mr. Shem Ochola – SUCAM……………………………………………    8


1.4              Why Farmer Unity is Crucial

Mr. Francis Waswa KESGA & SUCAM……………………………….    10




2.0              Brief by the Eastern Regional Committee

(Soin, Muhoroni, Chemelil & Miwani)

Mr. J. C. Tado – SUCAM………………………………………………..   10


2.1       Discussions from the Floor

Sugarcane Growers and Farmer representatives………………………    13


            2.2       Resolutions……………………………………………………………….   17


            2.3       Working Committee Representatives…………………………………..    18




















The Sugar Campaign for Change

By Joyce Waititu


What is Sucam?

The Sugar Campaign for Change (SUCAM) is a rights based coalition comprising of a core team of 19 organizations and institutions which include representative farmer organizations, national and international civil society organizations, professional bodies and other advocacy and rights based groups.


What is the purpose of Sucam?

“The purpose of the campaign is to ensure that sugarcane farmers in Kenya have greater control over their produce so as to enjoy a livelihood that is just, fair and free of poverty.” SUCAM was officially formed on October 2nd 2001 following two-day growers meeting held in Kiboswa.  The Kiboswa meeting identified five key resolutions, which have since guided all SUCAM activities.


These resolutions are:


1.        We resolve to build a coalition for positive change in the sugar sector.

2.        Having realized the weaknesses and divisions among sugarcane farmers, we resolve to work for unity amongst farmers

3.        We resolve to promote and lobby for sugarcane farmer friendly policies.

4.        We recognize KESGA (Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association) as the apex farmers’ body and resolve to strengthen its capacity to be truly representative of farmer’s interests.

5.        We resolve to undertake awareness campaigns on matters pertaining to the Sugar Industry.


Guided by these resolutions SUCAM has carried out several activities of which one of the most important was the successful lobby on the Sugar Bill, 2001 in which SUCAM, with the support of several members of parliament managed to push through at least seventy percent of its 17 proposed amendments to the Sugar bill.  The most crucial amendment sought to increase farmer representation in the Kenya Sugar Board from four to seven.


The purpose of the Meeting

Now that there is a relatively farmer friendly Sugar Act in place, what sort of pre-requisites and conditions are necessary to ensure that the Sugar Act is effectively implemented so as to have positive impact on the lives of farmers as opposed to just being another policy document?  The meeting seeks to discuss requirements that growers have to meet during transition to ensure successful and effective implementation of the Act.


Strategic Importance of the Sugar Sector.

By Peter Kegode


The sugar industry has a multi functional role to play in the resuscitation and improvement of the economy to ensure economic growth. Sugar is a strategic agricultural commodity after tea and coffee. It contributes to GDP growth. It supports 5 million households and is a major source of employment. It is a key strategic provider of social infrastructure such as schools, churches etc. It contributes in excess of Kshs. 3.0 Billion in taxes to the exchequer. The industry provides raw materials and inputs to subsidiary industries such as the manufacturing sector.


Multi-Functional Role of the Sugar Industry

It provides economic engine for growth and also plays a key role in Poverty Reduction Strategy paper (PRSP) process. However, the Kenyan sugar industry has failed, why is this so? Why has other sugar regimes been successful?  The following countries are successful Sugar Success stories:



South Africa




“The strategic importance of the Sugar industry should be captured by the Act.

These attributes of the industry have not been adequately captured.”


Sugar Act however is not going to be the solution to the sector’s problem, but rather the beginning of the answer.  As usual, not all answers lie in the Act.


International Sugar Regime

International Sugar regime shows how sugar is traded globally. It is important to have clear facts about the following:

  • Global production, of which only 10 million tonnes is traded in the global market.
  • Global consumption
  • Surplus Inventory,
  • Contract Sugar which is traded in the commodities market
  • US department of Agriculture-

-USDA TRQ – 1,288,983 metric tonnes

-ACP/EU Protocol – 1,305,000 metric tonnes


Sugar that is traded in the global market is subsidized sugar- whose cost of sale is lower than the cost of production.


Projections for production in the year:

Brazil                -           10.69 m tonnes
                                    6.75 billion litres of alcohol

South Africa     -           2.53 m tonnes

Cuba                -          4.0 m tonnes

Kenya              -           450,000 metric tonnes

Kenya has been a victim of surplus sugar. There are other protocols that control the sugar trade. These arrangements have made Mauritius very successful. For Kenya, a lot of strategies to utilize the arrangements are required. To put up a sugar factory the size of Nzoia and its subsidiaries requires close to Kshs. 5 billion in terms of physical and social infrastructure. The heavy capital investment makes a case for protection, which is used globally to protect the industry.


International Agreement & Tariff Regimes

WTO Tariff Bindings:

Kenya’s Bound rates              -            100%

Current threshold                   -             95%

25% Customs Duty                  -           70% suspended duty.


Under the liberalization, countries can only reduce and not raise the bound rates. So liberalization is done from the bound tariff rates. The WTO stipulates how much duty can be levied on agricultural commodities.  The implication is that countries are not allowed to increase the tariffs beyond the bound rates. The Kenya bound rate is 100% other countries have tariff rates of over 200% and have got wider margins to liberalize from than Kenya.


Comparative Analysis

Bangladesh                                           200%

Switzerland                                           211%

Tanzania                                               120%

Tunisia                                                  190%

Nigeria                                                 150%

Finland                                     493%


“The global sugar regime is replete with high structure of tariffs for protection purposes,

   Pakistan recently increased tariffs on sugar by 20%”


The above notwithstanding, protection cannot be invoked in cases of internal inefficiencies.  Both the WTO and COMESA, disallow protection resulting from internal inefficiencies.


Sugar Marketing Arrangements

The committee to sit on the Kenya Sugar Board must ensure that there is no frivolous importation of sugar into the country.  There are sugar-marketing arrangements internationally, examples of these is shown hereunder:

§         In Guyana - Damerara terminal-Subsidiary company of GUYSUCO is responsible for marketing the sugar exports.

§         In Mauritius - The Mauritius Sugar Syndicate  (MSS) is the sole sugar marketing organization.

§         Swaziland - Swaziland Sugar Association is the sole Marketer of sugar.

§         South Africa - South Africa Sugar Association (SASA) is the sole marketing agency.

§         In Kenya, - the marketing is left to distributors, middlemen & unregulated speculators.


The Act must institute a proper marketing arrangement that will give maximum benefits to the industry.


Sugar Importation Program

The average annual Production is 450,000 metric tones with a projected consumption of 650,000 mt. The annual deficit is between 150,000 – 200,000 metric tones. Industrial sugar deficit is between 80,000 – 100,000 metric tonnes. There are 30 companies that utilize refined sugar in their manufacturing process. These are in beverages, confectioners, Pharmaceuticals, baking & canning industry. There are different tariffs that apply, which include the Comesa zero tariff, refined Sugar, Raw sugar and White sugar tariffs. There is scope for surplus production and the subsequent narrowing of the deficit through proper cane husbandry, use of high yielding varieties.


Kenya does not have a factory that produces refined sugar. This provides opportunity for subsidiary companies to import the refined sugar.  The requirement is that these bodies / organizations must be gazetted, with restrictions regarding quantity to be imported. One of the duties of the KSB Committee should be to ensure that there is no uncontrolled importation of refined sugar. Further, following efficiency criteria, it is curious why Mumias sugar factory, which is regarded, as an efficient producer is unable to produce refined sugar.


Industry Safeguards

The following measures should be taken to safeguard the industry from the negative effects

of globalization and liberalization:

§         Anti-Dumping Legislation.

§         Safeguard laws - which are most appropriate

§         Comesa Zero-Tariff Sugar Importation.


The Kenyan factories, given their poor state need to be developed so that country does not become a dumping market for COMESA.

Industry Efficiency Parameters

International Benchmarks for factory time efficiency is 91.7%. The following apply for the Kenyan Factories.

Mumias            83.2%

Nzoia               69.33%

Sony                85.87%

West Kenya     68.66%

Chemelil           86.3%

Muhoroni         68.28%

Miwani 56.7%


High Costs of Production

Some of the factors that are responsible for the high costs of production include;

High costs of cane Procurement. 70 % of cost of production goes to procurement.

High cost of cane Transportation

Harvesting & handling Charges

Inputs – high costs of fertilizers, herbicides etc.

Agricultural equipment such as tractors are too expensive

Cost of production ranges from Kshs. 50,000 – 95,000 per hectare depending on the zones and type of soil.


“For our Sugar Industry to be competitive we must address the high cost of producing sugar and the inputs that go into the process the Sugar Act and accompanying policy should provide the impetus necessary for the reforms in the sector”


Proposed ways to mitigate high costs of production

Proposed irrigation policy from the component of SDL.

Maximizing on and ensuring higher yields.

Shorter cane maturity

Predictable harvesting program and planning for the industry.

Diversification of the use of core products:
Tanzania produces and sells  spirit – Konyagi Ice
Uganda produces and sells – waragi (FDA approval)
Kenya – Kumi kumi

-         Energy – Co-generation – which can be spread over the cost of sugar.

-         Building & Construction materials

-         Paper production – environmentally sound


Key Institutions – Industry Organs

  • Kenya Sugar Board
  • Sugar development Levy
  • Zonal committees – Farmers voice
  • Marketing Agency (Imports & exports)
  • Arbitration Tribunal


Proposed Kenya Sugar Board Representation

§         12 seats – Kenya Sugar Board

§         Minimum 6 seats to farmers

§         1 seat to manufacturers representative

§         Ministers representative – Agriculture

§         Ministers representative – Treasury

§         Attorney General – representative

§         Miller representative

§         CEO Kenya Sugar Board

Other structures should accompany the Act in reform.


Infrastructure Development

Other structures should accompany the Bill in reform. The Bill should address developmental aspects in the industry, which should include:

-         Construction of Dams

-         Irrigation Policy – Sugar Cane farming

-         Roads development

-         Transloading facilities


Key Amendments and Points in the Sugar Act – A brief Analysis

The Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) shall comprise of 15 board members, out of which 7 shall be elected by the farmers (i.e. The board can no longer meet without farmers, as was the case with the Sugar Bill before amendments). The chairman of the Kenya Sugar Board shall be elected from among the farmers' representatives. The Act has broadened the farmers' representatives to groups to include farmers companies incorporated under the Trade Unions Act.  (Previously farmers were represented through outgrowers companies, some of which have been unable to perform to farmers' expectations.


The Act provides that the Kenya Sugar Board shall meet at least once in every year and convene a general meeting of representatives of millers and growers for the purpose of considering the annual reports and accounts of the board and also for the purpose of transacting other business for which notice shall be given.  This is an important forum where farmers shall have the opportunity to veto and consult on major decisions affecting the sugar industry.


The Act has established a Sugar Development Fund to support the sugar industry.  The components of the sugar development funds include; cane development; factory refurbishment; roads and infrastructure development; irrigation; research and development; financing KSB.  The funds shall be administered by KSB through a special committee.  Unlike previously, the SDF has now been entrenched into the Act as a separate and semi-autonomous institution of the sugar industry.


The Kenya Sugar Bill will regulate all importation and exportation of sugar liaising with relevant departments.  In effect, given that farmers are the majority in the Board, importation of sugar, where necessary will be done in a manner that hopefully will not harm the interests of the farmers.  This mandate is expected to see an improvement in the sugar sector, which is reeling from unchecked importation of untaxed and dumped sugar into the country.


The sugarcane growers shall be entitled to at least 51% of shareholding of all privatized sugar factories and at least 51% of representation in the milling boards shall comprise sugarcane farmers.  This legislation is designed to empower sugarcane farmers and facilitate their nomination to sugar factory boards.


The Act establishes a sugar tribunal institution to be known as the Sugar Arbitration Tribunal for the purpose of arbitrating disputes arising between any party under this Act.  The tribunal shall consist of a chairman who shall be a person qualified for appointment as a judge of the high court of Kenya and expert members with knowledge in the sugar industry to be appointed by the minister in consultation with the Attorney General.


Farmers will be paid within 30 days of cane delivery.  Farmers shall be required to be paid for their cane on sucrose content rather than weight of cane as is now.  As long as the formula is well understood and applied, this can lead to high quality of sugarcane.  Cane will now be weighed on site and cost of transport and all liabilities of transporting cane will be borne by the miller. 


The sugar research foundation continues to be incorporated under cap.486 under Government guarantee.  This could present a problem as the legal structure of the research foundation puts the accountability of the research institution into question.


In brief the Sugar Act and future policy on the Sugar Industry relies heavily on the Kenya Sugar Board.  The new board required committed and focused individuals who have strategic vision, and genuine interest of revitalizing the sugar industry.  The Act will be operational on April 1st 2002


Transition Prerequisites

By: Shem Ochola,


Questions for discussion

  1. Learning from the past and starting of a clean slate.  The need for a comprehensive audit of KSA and all allied organizations / institutions as a prerequisite for transition.


The sugar act will only be revolutionary and effective if we learn from the past and allow for the industry to redirect itself on a clean slate. 


The new Kenya Sugar Board will fail to have any positive impact on the lives of sugarcane farmers and hence the sugar industry in general if it merely inherits the problems of the past. The Kenya Sugar Board must not inherit any liabilities or debts incurred by the Kenya Sugar Authority and its allied institutions.  Neither will be boar being able to perform its functions effectively if we fail to analyze and understand the challenges that the Kenya Sugar Authority faced.  In order for the new board to start on a clean slate, it is imperative that a comprehensive audit of Kenya Sugar Authority and its allied institutions be carried out.


This will help identify assets, debts and liabilities of the former Kenya Sugar Authority and will allow for farmers to insist for a suitable method of debt recovery.


It is a futile task to talk about who will go to the Kenya Sugar Board without calling for an audit and understanding the challenges that faced KSA, new board members will be burdened with the same problems that faced the Kenya Sugar Authority, and will thus be constrained in focusing all efforts to rejuvenate the industry.


  1. Differentiating between grassroots representation and Kenya Sugar Board.


We cannot discuss Kenya Sugar Board if we are not confident and sure of the institutions that ought to represent farmers at grassroots levels.  It is futile to assume that Kenya Sugar Cane Growers Association (KESGA) will determine membership of KSB. KESGA and KSB are two different (yet complimentary) entities and must be seen as such.  Does KESGA need changes? Is it representative of farmers interests? What support does KESGA need?  How do we take KESGA even further to farmers?


The Distinction between KESGA and KSB is crucial to our ensuring a well-implemented Sugar Act.  KSB is the policy-making organ in the Sugar Industry.  Whilst farmers are the majority on the Board, all members are expected to work together harmoniously to push for effective and efficient sugar policy making organ for stakeholders in the Sugar industry, KSB is not an exclusive institution that will represent farmers interests.


Kenya Sugar Cane Growers Association on the other hand is one of the key institutions that should represent farmers interests at grass root levels and lobby and influence the KSB in making policy decisions that are farmer friendly.


It should also be the institution that is wholly representative of farmers' interests and informs farmers of developments and changes within the Sugar Industry.


The roles of both KSB and KESGA are both very different yet complimentary KESGA will ultimately be the watchdog for farmers to ensure that KSB is running efficiently.  For farmers, the most important challenge is to ensure that KESGA wholly represents their interests so as to effectively watch over the activities of the Kenya Sugar Board.  KESGA must make sure that KSB is accountable to the farmers and prescribes policies that are fair and just.  Kenya Sugar Authority managed to get away with a lot of injustice because farmers have not been united enough to constantly monitor and demand their rights from the top policy making organs.


We may debate and discuss as much as we like about which seven growers should go to KSB. But if the farmers' representative organizations are not united and effectively organized, even with the most perfect seven people in KSB, farmers will always be shortchanged.


The most important pre-requisite for farmers to ensure effective implementation of the new act if for the farmers representative organizations to be truly representative of farmers interest with strong grassroots networks.  Only then will farmers be able to demand for their rights from the organs that seek to implement policies in the Sugar Industry.


  1. The final pre-requisite for the transition process is to harmonize relations between growers and millers.


It is clear that a new act has added several burdens on the miller – including issues such as sucrose testing and on site weighing of cane.  Whilst the millers may find these requirements draconian and hard to implement, it is important to note that these amendments need not have been cast into law had millers and growers been meeting regularly at zonal and national level to discuss and sort out problems ranging from transportation to pricing.


It is crucial for growers to engage in a productive and focused dialogue with millers so as to build a transparent, accountable and efficient sugar industry.  Both millers and growers should aim through dialogue for a win-win situation.  Antagonism between growers and millers will just hurt the industry more.


Why Unity of Farmers is still a prerequisite

By Francis Waswa

The enactment of the Sugar Act could not have been successful without Sucam and Members of Parliament who duly deserve congratulation, as Kesga alone could not have achieved the feat. Kesga was formed and registered in 1982 with a purpose to represent all sugarcane growers. Later, the responsibility of representation was diverted to the outgrower companies with the net effect that capacity of Kesga was weakened.  As at now, the Act opens the membership to all farmers, the implication is that it aims at tackling problems of all the farmers; industry organizations affiliations and differences notwithstanding. The challenge is therefore to the farmers to prepare and take up their roles without hesitation.


The question of controversial aspects of the sugar Act must be acknowledged with respect to problems that are bound to arise during the implementation of some of the provisions in the Act. A meeting with the millers is instructive so as to come into concurrence on the issues, for example the payment of for cane based on the sucrose content which is bound to be problematic in implementation.  It must be acknowledged that the millers never bothered to lobby for a favourable Act, as the playing field had all along favoured them, nonetheless, implementation of the controversial areas in the Act can be agreed to be deferred. Their choice (millers) to sit on the other side of the fence has not rewarded them. Now there is opportunity for the farmers to meet the millers whom they sell their produce to, but rarely meet, a very poor way of doing business. The new developments in the sector also means that the farmers must go back to the drawing board to elect selfless and leaders of high integrity to represent them in the KSB.


Brief from Eastern Regional Committee - Soin, Muhoroni, Chemelil and Miwani.

By J. C. Tado, Muhoroni


1.        KESGA Executive Committee meeting on 15th March, 2001 held at KSA Boardroom in Kisumu resolved that:-

a)      For KESGA’s existence be felt at the grassroots level, there must be established

(i)                  Better Networking with zonal outgrower institutions including regular supply and analysis of data

(ii)                Self sustaining newsletter

(iii)               Periodic visits and meetings with growers by KESGA officials.


b)      The executive committee approves an itinerary for KESGA national officials visits to the zones


2.        Under minute 4.1.3 of the same meeting, the Executive committee recommended the establishment of KESGA Branches or Local Cane Growers Councils, in every milling zone.

3.        On 1st and 2nd October 2001, KESGA held a meeting with all stakeholders at Kiboswa, where the following resolutions were adopted:-


Resolution (3) – We recognize that all farmers organizations represent sugarcane growers and commit ourselves to creating zonal committees, that are truly representative of farmers interests,


Resolution (6) – We recognize KESGA (Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association) as the apex farmer’s body and resolve to strengthen its capacity to be truly representative of farmer’s interests.


It is of utmost importance to note that these two resolutions along with the other were endorsed by KESGA national office.


4.        In the second week of October 2001, KESGA headquarter sent out invitations to all sugarcane farmers to education meeting for Muhoroni, Chemelil and Soin on the role of KESGA

5.        The meetings were successfully conducted by KESGA national office, where farmers agreed on the mode and method of election of fifteen representatives of every zone.  A further circular from KESGA Head Office gave out dates for election and consequently the elections were carried out and KESGA branches constituted as follows:-

§         Chemelil                 -           18th November, 2001

§         Muhoroni               -           2nd November, 2001

§         Miwani                   -           8th November 2001

§         Soin                       -           13th December 2001.

6.        Upon constitution these zonal committees become members of SUCAM alongside their mother body - KESGA

7.        The Zonal committees of Busia, Miwani, Chemelil and Muhoroni under the able leadership of KESGA national chairman participated effectively in the lobbying for the passage of the Sugar Bill outstanding among these campaigns was the Intercontinental Hotel meeting of 22/11/2001 involving the Members of Parliament from sugar growing areas together with the diplomats from sugar exporting countries, under the auspices of Sucam.

8.        Records indicate that information was conveyed to KESGA national officials on 7th November, 2001 informing them among other things that:-
(i) The last AGM was held on 21st August 1998.
(ii) The law states that KESGA should hold a general meeting every year as its
(iii) No AGM or extraordinary general meeting was held in 1999 as required by the

(iv) No AGM or extraordinary general meeting was held in 2000 as required by the


(v) No AGM or extraordinary general meeting was held in 2001 as required by the

(vi) The AGM and election of KESGA national office is long overdue.

9.        It is important to put it on record that all the constituted Zonal committees received from KESGA letters acknowledging receipt of the names of the fifteen (15) elected representatives confirming to them among other things:

(i)  That the representatives constitute KESGA’s sugarcane growers council in the


       (ii) That the committees in KESGA’s branch at the zone.
       (iii) That the committee members will be the delegates to KESGA’s general

10.    We want this meeting to be informed that all the fifteen (15) representatives from all the zonal committees that have been constituted have attended training workshops where they have been oriented with the role, functions and operations of KESGA

11.    We want to assure KESGA national office that with the constitution of all the Zonal committees, they will have achieved the great purpose for which they set out on the 15th March 2001 the establishment of KESGA branches.  Busia, West Kenya, Miwani, Chemelil, Muhoroni and Soin Branches are just too ready to participate in KESGA general meetings as delegates from the zones.  Mr. Chairman the ball is in your court.

12.    I would like to be permitted to touch on one other pressing issue as we prepare for the implementation of the sugar Act 2001

The most important task before us, as stakeholders in the sugar sub-sector, during this period of transition is to demand, resolve and ensure that there is a thorough audit of Kenya Sugar Authority Funds, so as not to load the Kenya Sugar Board with the unnecessary debts.

13.    We should resolve here that the audit be carried out in the following areas:
(i)  Funds loaned by KSA to the factories for rehabilitation, bearing in mind the fact that Muhoroni and Miwani are under receivership and the Nzoia is not performing all that well.

(ii) Funds meant for the construction of Busia Factory, knowing only too well that construction has not started and money can not be traced.
(iii) Funds given by KSA to KESREF for research including the colossal amount of money pumped in for tissue culture.
(iv) Funds given or loaned by KSA to out grower companies for various development purposes, so as to give a true picture of the situation in the companies, in order to safeguard the interests of the growers.
(v) The audit should help the sugar industry understand why several million shillings    are owed to farmers for several years by all the sugar companies.

14.    The Audit should cover the DARK AGE in sugar industry 1994-2001.

15.    In conclusion ladies and gentlemen, we should know that the purpose of this meeting is not to discuss representation of the Kenya Sugar Board, but that we are here to:-
(i) As a matter of utmost urgency to discuss ways and means of completing the restructuring and strengthening of KESGA, so that is can play its lawful role in the industry.
(ii) To put in place the machinery for the audit of KSA on sugar-related funds loaned of given to the FACTORIES; OUTGROWERS COMPANIES and KESREF between 1994 – 2001, so as to ensure that Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) starts off on a clean slate in April 2001.


"Let the truth Prevail"


Contributions from the floor


Questions / comments

By Mr. Omalla

It is clear that farmers do not have strong institutions. Pertinent points that requires strong consideration include the following:

§         The calibre of members composing the KSB board, and how well the board compares with strong institutions internationally.

§         Capacity building by exposing the industry representatives internationally.

§         Mobilization of funds: How well can the farmers secure funds / credit? Will a new board put in place a capital board for growers?

§         Will the government and the KSB contribute in building capacity of the outgrower institutions?

§         What is the position with respect to the issue of enterprise and diversification in sugar cane growing as opposed to a monolithic and lopsided approach that has hurt the industry? Is it feasible to build a long-term strategy to rein in the shocks so common in the industry? What other comparative experiences can inform this process?

§         What need we put in place to harmonize the conflicts in the Act especially where there are overlapping roles, practicability of the some of the provisions etc.

§         Enhancing equality of status and equity between the growers and the millers and move to a scenario where both parties can engage in constructive meetings.

§         What parameters should be set for efficiency for the factories? Should these be the same?

§         What is the place of research and development?



By Mr. Peter Kegode

The issues raised above refer. SUCAM work plan will focus on among other things, dissemination of information to the farmers. This is also expected to help the farmers choose capable representatives, who are selfless and with vision to take the industry to the next level. The challenge is how the farmers will identify them. SUCAM also recognizes the fact that capacity building is of utmost requirement in the industry, and would endeavor by liaising with the farmers at the community level in providing the technical assistance. Diversification of the industry is not a priority as at now. This is because the sugarcane farmer has never enjoyed the fruits from the industry. As such, the industry should be restructured first before diversification. A fact that is worth recognizing is that research and development has not driven the industry, nonetheless, proper research can make it prosper.


§         How do you guarantee effectiveness of decision making of the board vis-ΰ-vis realities of the day?


§         How do you guarantee genuine representation of farmers while considering the fact that some are small scale while others are large-scale growers?


§         How do you influence policy makers to understand the multi-functional role of the industry - that these are for promoting growth?


Other discussants

Effectiveness of the board members is strongly correlated to the qualities of the people chosen. Criteria must be developed to take into account the differences between small and large-scale growers. The industry has lagged behind because of poor policies that are not favorable to the farmer, and selfish leaders, who have instead been more of parasites to the farmers.


Hon. Dr. Odongo Omamo

This is the first time ever in many years that farmers have met to discuss the issues affecting them in the industry. There has been ineffective leadership that has never bothered to bring them together. SUCAM, has made this possible and deserve all the accolades, not only for convening the meeting, but also for lobbying for the amendment of the Sugar Bill. Enactment of the Act is a good pointer of the fact that Kenya is proceeding towards the rule of law. But the laws are made by people, so the stakeholders can discuss the areas that are controversial in the Act, this should be all-inclusive. In view of enactment of the Act, one area that requires careful attention by the farmers includes the electing members to the Kenya Sugar Board. These should be non-compromisable selfless people with integrity who are prepared to fight for the farmers' rights. They should be capable of articulating the problems in the industry competently to make the other members of the board to see the whole picture. This implies that they should be elected after careful scrutiny. The farmers must work hard to liberate themselves, Kesga is expected to play a leading role in this process.


Other discussants

Perhaps, it is not misplaced to ask the question as to why Kenya is a high cost sugar producer. The answer to this question is found in the poor policies and the sub-optimal usage of resources. For instance, it appears that there is no policy that promotes, making the farmers to rely so much on rain instead of irrigating the farms.


Mr. Cajetan Owende

The meeting recorded the highest ever attendance because of the efforts of SUCAM. Sugar Bill was had become a song whose amendment and enactment was realized with the assistance of SUCAM. But one thing that critically stands out is the need for enlightening the farmers through disseminating the right information. The history of sugar industry is replete with a "rich" history of misinformation, which has been perfectly used because of the disunity among the farmers. The clarion call is for the farmer empowerment, right from the grassroots. Reorganizing the farmers and the farmer organizations should be embarked on as a matter of urgency, so that they also work with the taskforce that should foresee the transition of KSA to KSB.



Mr. Sakwa

A lot of work in terms of electing the zonal committee members has been done in the Nyanza sugarbelt; more attention should be shifted to the Western region as well. The next plan of action ought to focus on training the farmers, an important ingredient to growth that is lacking. Kesga, which is the farmers' representative has a weak financial base to engender this process, therefore ways must be developed to enable Kesga to run on a sound financial footing.


Hon. J. Aloo Ogeka

The magical act that the 9th. Parliament has done is the enactment of the Sugar Act. This is bound to bring with it political realignments, complexities in the sector notwithstanding. The following issues are critical:

§         The Act is not perfect. Some areas need critical analysis. The number of farmers in the board now stands at 7, the total board composition is 14. In this case if the chairman of the board is a farmer, then it must be clear to the farmers that the chairman will not be entitled to vote, except when there is a tie in votes. The implication is that the farmer effective representation would be six.

§         The KSB should not be a change of musical chairs. There must be a clean break from the past of KSA dominated industry.

§         Assessment of the extent of poverty in the sugarbelt which can be done by a simple analysis of performance of the following parameters [which are not exhaustive]:

Infant mortality (per 1000)


Education (in terms of school dropouts)

State of infrastructure (in terms of access to the farms etc)


It must be borne in mind that coordination of the farming activities and nurturing of sugarcane is one of the fundamental cures of the problems afflicting the farmers. The farmers can best emulate their successful counterparts in Mauritius only when they have power. This crucial ingredient must be distilled because some of the lobbying architects and masters of division are confusing the farmers in Muhoroni zone. Most of the outgrower companies, such as Musoco are technically insolvent. But Musoco has a dubious distinction by its historical inability to address issues in the industry. It borrows funds from the SDF, which the officials use corruptly. It is the right time for these officials also to strengthen Kesga, and the farmers must nolonger crown the millers, as they are their employers.


Other Discussants

There is also need to review the treaty regarding the use of Lake Victoria waters. It can irrigate the whole sugar-belt and make Kenya to favorably compete with Kenana sugar plant is Sudan, among others.


Mr. Momanyi & discussants from the floor

Kenya got independence and soon after got ensnared into neocolonialism. The state of sugarcane cane farmers' attests to this. There should be a reflection on certain issues regarding the implementation of the Act. Among these are:

§         Establishing an interim committee for the sugar board.

§         Ensuring that there is a fair deal between the sugarcane growers and the millers.

§         Establishing a tripartite arrangement / committee of millers, growers, government and Unions.

§         Mainstreaming of the dispute resolution mechanism.


The union is ready to support Sucam in its effort to bring positive change to the sugar industry - as the aim is clear, " to liberate the sugarcane farmer so as not to become a second hand farmer."


Other issues that should be given due attention:


§         The outgrower companies should also be audited as well. A lot of mess in the industry also emanates from them - especially through their ineffective representation and collusion with the millers in exploiting the farmers.

§         There should be dispersion in the use of by-products by the subsidiary companies to help in the creation of employment.

§         Exploiting the local capacity for the manufacture of fertilizer in the country. A good push is necessary to realize this goal.

§         That unions, Kesga and the millers need one another.


There is a special role for each of the organizations in the sugar industry. They play different but complementing roles. This is recognized in the Act. Concomitant to this, there is already a realization that restructuring of Kesga is a must to eject the godfathers who sustain thieves in the organization. Farmers must face this squarely as a challenge.


Hon. Tuiyok

A good diagnosis of the problem in the industry has already been done. But perhaps it is not misplaced to ask the question " what's the problem when the farmers elect their representatives?" The Coffee Act, which was passed together with the Sugar Act, has made some gains. Then, why not sugar? This vouches for a strong case for electing a committee of sugarcane farmers to take the industry to the next level. Divisive politics must be expected in this process, countering these is essential, success can only be guaranteed if farmers are united. There is high potentiality in the industry. The minister for Agriculture must appreciate this fact and work together with the farmers.


Mr. Rogers

A meeting should be organized for the outgrower companies who seem not to understand their role in the industry.  The problems in the industry cannot however be solved by Kesga and Kesma alone. The farmers do get shortchanged most of the time they elect their representatives. Specifically Kesga is a worst case because the officials were from outgrower companies. So the farmers elected directors who became their managers. This is where the conflict rests. The move to register the Kenya Sugar outgrowers and Employers Union was denied by the authorities, but this does not in any way compromise the fact that farmers should belong to organizations of their choice. Kesga is a national organization registered under societies Act while the unions operate individually and severally, they operate under Cotu and are affiliated to FKE, as such there should be no conflict as their jurisdictions are clearly delineated.


It is therefore imperative for the stakeholders to agree on a way forward. The outgrowers' organizations, if left to operate alone, will fall prey to the millers, who fish them out and finance them for their personal comforts at the expense of the farmers.



Mr. Eric Otieno Jonam

Sugarcane growing is business and is guided by business principles. There is a wide disparity in Kenya in terms of costs of investments and returns in sugarcane farming. The cost of producing sugar in the US stands at an equivalent of Kshs. 26/lb, which is within the range of cost of production in Kenya. But if the costs of production in Kenya are high, then it is by Kenyans design and not by world standards. The meeting itself is a manifestation of the farmers desires to fight poverty. There should be an agreement not to amend the Act in the first six months, except for the subsidiary legislation that will spell out the terms of reference, duties and functions of the organizations in the industry, among others.


A taskforce has been formed to run the industry during the transition period, it is however curious as they do not work in the interest of the farmers. It is imperative that production of sugar be looked at and how it affects the overall policy





1.      We agree to recognize KESGA as the apex farmers' representative body, but also recognize that KESGA is in need of urgent restructuring. As agreed at the Kiboswa meeting of October 1st. and 2nd. 2001, KESGA needs to be taken back democratically to the grassroots through the creation of zonal committees. As per the Kiboswa resolutions agreed upon the following KESGA zonal committees / Branches have been democratically elected.

¨      Muhoroni

¨      Miwani

¨      Chemelil

¨      Soin

¨      Busia

¨      West Kenya

We recognize these zonal committees as the legitimate representatives of farmers and unanimously endorse these committees.


We agree to complete elections of the remaining zonal committees by 9th. February 2002, in Sony, Nzoia and Mumias, and a new KESGA by 28th. 2002.


The zonal committees shall be delegates to the Annual General Meeting.


In view of the fact that KESGA has not held an AGM for the last 3 years, as a matter of urgency, KESGA will call an AGM on 28th February 2002, which will be attended by the elected zonal committees (Cane Growers Council).


The purpose of the AGM will be to complete restructuring of KESGA to become a truly democratic and representative farmers' umbrella body.


2.      We agree to form a working committee of eleven members constituted of nine zonal representatives and two ex-officio to look into the modalities of the sugar Act during transition period.

3.      We agree as a matter of urgency to arrange a meeting between sugarcane growers and millers and other stakeholders as soon as possible.

4.      We demand for an independent, uncompromisable professional external auditor to do special audit of Kenya Sugar Authority, the outgrower companies, KESREF and all allied institutions to be conducted before April 1st2002.

Agreed Upon by All  ___________Farmers present.



Working Committee Representatives to look into the modalities of the Sugar Act during Transition Period.


1.          Busia                          Mr. Cajetan Owende

2.          Chemelil                     Dr. Mboya Kagumba

3.          Miwani                       Mr. Samwel Anyango

4.          Mumias                      Mr. Agustine N. Sakwa

5.          Soin                           Mr. Kiptorus Kirior

6.          Muhoroni                   Mr. Justus Aloo Ogeka

7.          Sony                          Mr. Mirigu Kisia

8.          Nzoia                         Mr. Ben Musimbi Khisa

9.          SUCAM                    Mr. Saulo Busolo


Note: The names of some of the contributors / discussants have not been included; therefore the names that appear in the report are representative, and not exhaustive in any way.


Rapporteur: Shem Ochola