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State-run Sony Sugar to shut for maintenance


SONY

Cane loading at Sony Sugar. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Sony Sugar Company will on Monday shut operations for six weeks to carry out maintenance. The struggling miller has been operational since August last year.

“The repairs are projected to give a lifeline of six to eight months. We have experienced frequent and long breakdowns of late,” acting Director-General Stephen Ligawa said.

“Output from the unit amount of cane has gone down but we hope there will be a bailout from the government. We are running at 70 per cent losses.”

Mr Ligawa urged Sony shareholders to support the maintenance.

Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga met elected leaders from Nyanza in Kisumu to discuss development projects.

Among the issues raised was the revival of the ailing miller. Mr Ligawa said the Sony management has not heard anything from the government.

Following the losses incurred by the miller, many farmers have switched to other crops.

Kenya National Federation of Sugar Cane Farmers Secretary-General Ezra Olodi said growers are frustrated by the failure of the government to implement a report by a task force.

“Failing to resuscitate the struggling millers has subjected farmers to agony. Coupled with low payment by private millers, farmers are resorting to other ventures,” Mr Olodi said. 

A tonne of harvested cane is selling at Sh2,800 at the privately run Sukari Industry in Ndhiwa while the Trans Mara based factory pays Sh3,300.

Sony takes a tonne for Sh4,310 though farmers complain of delayed payments.

In February 2020, President Kenyatta told framers that the government would implement recommendations for the sugar task force.



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